Ubisoft has come under fire from parents over in-game marketing for its Just Dance subscription service.
The issue centres around the recently released Just Dance 2019, which lists both songs on the disc and ones from the Just Dance Unlimited service (a collection of tune from previous games) on its in-game tracklist.
The 2019 version also brings back a Kids mode, introduced last year, that focuses on songs aimed at younger players. But a parent has complained about the inclusion of Unlimited tracks in this section.
As our sister site Eurogamer observes, Ubisoft markets the Kids mode as "a safe space for Kids to have fun and enjoy dancing". Parent and Reddit user 'darkheartsmd' accused the game of "spamming" their child to sign up.
"Bought the game for my son (6) because he loves to dance," the user wrote. "Was going fine until he tried selecting the song about sheep in the kids mode. Every time it would ask him to subscribe. They need to remove those songs from the list until an adult subscribes in the normal mode."
A Ubisoft spokesperson issued a statement to Eurogamer, promising this will be addressed.
"We realised that the labelling of the content in-game and more especially the difference between what's included on the cartridge/disc and what's available in the Just Dance Unlimited streaming service in the Just Dance Kids mode could be confusing for our players. We never intended to create an uncomfortable situation for parents.
"Just Dance is a game that's meant to be accessible for everyone, and it's really important for us to provide a protective and safe environment for all of our players, including families. We are currently working hard on solving this issue as soon as possible."
There are stricter rules about advertising in-game purchases and subscriptions to children on mobile, but the issue has not been as prominent on consoles. However, as more titles turn to the games-as-a-service and subscription models, publishers like Ubisoft are likely to encounter this problem with future releases.