FTC Hammers Sony For Misleading Advertising

from the faking-it dept

Earlier this year, Mike had written up yet another post about Comcast doing its best again to prove that it was a company not worthy of a ton of trust. That specific case of Comcast d-baggery had to do with an advertisement for Comcast internet targeting “real gamers” by showing a “real gamer” playing a “real game” that “really” doesn’t have an online component to it. That didn’t stop the company spokesman in the ad from asking the “real gamer” if he was experiencing any buffering. Great.

Well, Comcast might want to pray real hard that the FTC doesn’t decide to take that advertisement on, since they recently hammered Sony over a similarly misleading ad.

Sony Computer Entertainment America (“Sony”) has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers with false advertising claims about the “game changing” technological features of its PlayStation Vita handheld gaming console during its U.S. launch campaign in late 2011 and early 2012. As part of its settlement with the FTC, Sony is barred from making similarly misleading advertising claims in the future, and will provide consumers who bought a PS Vita gaming console before June 1, 2012, either a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 merchandise voucher for select video games, and/or services.

At the heart of the FTC’s decision was Sony’s claim and suggestions in its ads that the Playstation Vita would generally allow for the remote play of customers’ Playstation 3 games. The reality is that most PS3 games couldn’t use the cross-platform connection in the pick-it-up-where-you-left-off nature that the advertisements suggested. Most games, in fact, simply didn’t work using the remote play feature of the Vita. The list of games that didn’t allow for remote play included, according to the FTC, the one that Sony and its advertising agency chose to feature in the ads promoting the feature.

Ads said you would “Never stop playing” and showed users enjoying the “remote play,” “cross save” and real-time 3G features. But the FTC says that despite the ads’ promises, customers really couldn’t use remote play to run most PS3 games on the PS Vita — not even Killzone 3, the popular PS3 game Sony featured in its promotional video explaining remote play.

Oops. Just as Comcast did, Sony allowed for advertisements to promote a feature using depictions of a game that it knew, or should have known, would never be able to use that feature. It’s the very definition of misleading. Hopefully, the FTC will be paying as much attention to the analogous Comcast advertisements as it has to Sony’s.

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Companies: sony

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Comments on “FTC Hammers Sony For Misleading Advertising”

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FeRDNYC (profile) says:

Re: This comment will probably be a lightning rod, but...

I’m 100% with you as far as this being an actual scandal, as opposed to the other total-crap “scandal”. But perhaps — just in the interest of making it a bit less of a third rail — we can call this #PublisherGate?

I don’t think the world needs any “real” #GamerGate, that hashtag is irreversibly tainted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: This comment will probably be a lightning rod, but...

Tainted? How so? To say an entire group — one that decries the acts of a few bad people and has tried to help bring them to justice — should be viewed solely through the actions of those bad people is a ridiculous argument.

The point being there is a lot of things that Gamergate has accomplished, IGN and other sites have published their ethical policies, the charity work alone is worth celebrating, and the FTC is publishing new guidelines.

We might as well say that Christianity is “irreversibly tainted” or perhaps all Germans are “irreversibly tainted” or perhaps all ISPs are “irreversibly tainted” — Okay, you might have something there.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This comment will probably be a lightning rod, but...

But it is irreversibly tainted. Gamergate did not start as some kind of altruistic effort to improve anything at all. It started out as an overtly misogynistic, hate-fuelled attempt to destroy certain individuals. Whatever it may or may not have morphed into since then cannot eliminate the taint of how and why it began.

Anybody who willingly associates themselves with “GamerGate” automatically loses a huge amount of credibility by doing so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 This comment will probably be a lightning rod, but...

The history is debatable, heavily so. A Gamergate supporter would say that gamergate started en force as a reaction to the various articles that actively targeted gamers using outdated and harmful stereotypes then banned all discussion of those articles.

But regardless of which position on the origins you take you are committing the classic Genetic fallacy https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/genetic

A movement or even can not be judged solely on it’s inception, many good purposes are subverted for bad things and many things that had strong negative intentions changed to become something good. You can only judge something based upon the actions and results in totality.

Bt Garner (profile) says:

Maybe the FTC will also go after Sony for the whole DriveClub fiasco (to fill you in: Sony heavily advertised a game called DriveClub as a free game to their PS+ Members, a game that was supposed to be available at the console launch. They missed that, next they decreased the functionality of the PS+ Version of DriveClub by reducing the number of cars and tracks, then the game came out in October, but has still not been made available, at no cost, as originally promised, to PS+ members for a variety of ‘technical’ reasons)

liekmems says:



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