Over the years, video games have been linked to societal ills ranging from poor academic performance to extreme antisocial behavior. So perhaps it came as no surprise when the game industry reacted poorly to U.K. health group Change4Life’s “Early Death” ad which visually linked the sedentary nature of video game play to dying before one’s time.
Several game industry types spoke out against the ad while trade magazine MCV and trade association Tiga (representing UK game developers) went as far as to submit official complaints with U.K. ad watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority.
Less than two weeks later, the ASA has decided not to take any action against the ad. In its ruling the ASA said:
Most readers would understand that the ad was discouraging a sedentary lifestyle and used the example of playing a console game as an illustration of the type of behaviour which might lead to long-term health problems if no exercise were taken alongside more sedentary activities.
Interestingly, the ASA also said that it received a complaint from someone not affiliated with the video game industry:
One parent objected that the ad was offensive and harmful because it frightened her young child who became scared that she would die if she played video games. The ASA Council sympathised with those concerns and understood that the reference to future health might, for some, be upsetting. However, it considered that the ad was unlikely to cause undue fear or distress to parents or children.
You can read the ASA’s entire response at MCV.
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen…