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ASA upholds complaint against 'best gaming' Virgin ads

Too much jitter for claimed low lag

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Another slap on the wrist for Virgin Media from the Advertising Standards Authority: the ISP was today told not to claim its 50Mb/s broadband package is the "best for online gaming".

To be fair, Virgin responded to the ASA's investigation into complaints received about an advertising feature in the June issue of PC Gaming by stating it wasn't responsible for the claim, which, it said, had been made by the magazine's editorial team.

Virgin said it would have made no such statement itself and will not do so in future.

But a second ad in the magazine, claiming the service would allow gamers to "outmanoeuvre" other players thanks to "lower lag times" was, the ASA said, likely to be viewed by consumers as a claim that the 50Mb/s package is better for gaming than rival offerings.

"We understood from the complainant that Virgin’s 50Mb/s broadband services suffered from significant jitter," wrote the ASA. "We also understood that jitter was a significant factor which affected gaming performance."

It said Ofcom findings identified that on average across the whole day and during peak times, Virgin’s 50Mb/s service had higher upstream jitter than all other services, aside from Virgin's own 20Mb/s service.

Virgin said as much in its response to the ASA, saying that this proved it was making no unwarranted claims about its service.

However, Virgin did not provide an explanation of how the Ofcom data substantiated the lower lag time claim, the ASA said, leading it to conclude "the overall impression given by the ads was misleading". ®

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