Microsoft Advertises The Witcher 3 On Xbox With Footage From The PC Version; Fans Not Fooled

from the bait-and-switch dept

Pay attention to the gaming scene and the way gamers interact with game companies and journalists and you’ll see that times are a little tense these days. Without diving into any of the debates currently being had throughout Gamerdom (Gamerstan? Gaming Nation?), let’s just all agree that there is a big fat trust vacuum at the moment and that this vacuum is being filled by all kinds of reactions, some of which are reasonable, some of which are silly and overreaching. What’s happened since in the last year or so has exacerbated the distrust to the point where companies operate on tip-toes with their audiences or they suffer the consequences. What cannot be done in a time like this, if a company wants to make money and keep its fanbase loyal, is to further breach that trust.

Take Microsoft, for example. The Xbox-maker recently pimped The Witcher 3 for its Xbox console on YouTube…using footage from the PC version of the game.

Today, the Xbox YouTube channel released a rad new video for the upcoming role-playing game The Witcher 3. There’s just one problem: it’s not actually running on an Xbox. Whoops. Yep, despite that XBOX logo stamped on the bottom right corner of the above video, this is actually footage from the (presumably better-looking) PC version of the game. The easiest way to tell? You can run the YouTube video at 60 frames-per-second; the developers of The Witcher 3 (out May 19 for PS4/XB1/PC) have specified that the console versions are actually locked at 30 FPS.

Now, I can already hear every person on the planet who either isn’t a gamer at all or is a casual gamer at most screaming, “There’s no way this is a big deal!” And, ultimately, they’re right, it’s not the hugest issue in gaming today. Game-makers play these kinds of tricks all the time, whether it’s showing the wrong version of the game, passing off cut-scenes as gameplay elements, or promoting features in games that aren’t present upon release. But the tolerance for these tricks is completely gone. It’s now common to see disclaimers that footage isn’t actually of gameplay, or that the footage is from one version of the game or another. And, while the Xbox channel did eventually edit to include a disclaimer that the footage was from the PC version of the game, the bait-and-switch nature of all this seems more inexplicable when it appears on the YouTube page for the console itself.

Next thing you know, prospective customers are crying foul and the game developer, CD Projeck Red, a company that is generally awesome in terms of being customer friendly, suddenly has to scramble to assure its fans that it had no idea Microsoft was doing any of this. Again, no reason not to believe them, but in the trust vacuum everyone might be in on the conspiracy and blowback is done via carpet-bomb instead of in a measured way.

Is this false advertising or an inadvertent error? I have no idea, but I do know that gaming companies can’t make these errors and think they can get away with it at the moment.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft Advertises The Witcher 3 On Xbox With Footage From The PC Version; Fans Not Fooled”

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Dan says:

It’s no biggie, this isn’t the first misleading video in gaming, and it won’t be the last. At least they only cheated on youtube, not in a live event, and their boss wasn’t fake-playing a video game during said event, and the VLC control panel didn’t pop up during the “game”. In contrast, this is quite tame.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t get how you can say that it doesn’t matter because they and others do it all the time! This is false advertising where they show a product with features it quite possibly doesn’t have (be it resolution, 60 fps or precise controls and whatever else the difference might be).
It matters! Every time we give them a bad time over this kind of behavior, we teach them a little bit more of a lesson that this is not acceptable, and maybe, just maybe they will some day stop doing it because it isn’t worth the bad press.
It is the only thing they understand, so we have to keep doing it, no matter if it is games, movies or any other product.

Village Idiot (profile) says:

Man, I love those Polish developers. Ever since I first found out about them and I always check there for games before logging into Steam. I almost never pre-order games, but I am eagerly awaiting the Witcher III to be activated in my game library. Tim is right, they are more awesome to their fans than any other studio I have come across.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a gamer, I kind of diagree about this not being a big deal. I mean, you are talking about advertisers deliberately misrepresenting thier product here. People get sued for that sort of thing in the states.

I feel like there is this ‘Its only a video game’ kind of mentality non-gamers get into. Yes, its true that when it comes to 30 vs 60fps, Id say sure that particular issue is a non-starter for me. I have an opinion on it, but its not worth getting worked up about.

What is worth it is trying to hold companies, ANY company, accountable to an ethical standard. Manipulating your game’s hype level by misrepresenting its graphics level when selling said product to a demographic that is easily swayed by good graphics is, quite simply, unethical.

I don’t care what the product you’re selling. You could be selling textured paint for all I care. Its unethical, and it should stop.

As you said before – peoples patience for this is basically zero now, because it has gone on for so long, and has been particularly blatant the last two years or so. Social media effects have just made it more obvious to everyone, because they didnt notice it so much before. Doesnt mean its less of a big deal to the people who are only now realizing it.

Bonny says:


Reminds me of EA with their “Made for PC Gamers by PC Gamers” video for Dragon Age: Inquisition when the game was the filthiest, most broken and dumbed-down console port ever.

Or Bethesda when with their Oblivion promo video talking about revolutionary AI and it turned out to all be fake and scripted.

There is a reason we don’t trust them.

But CDPR are releasing Witcher 3 DRM-Free on GOG! That alone makes them about the most credible devs in the business to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yup.

Go read some of the stories about Oblivion’s Radiant AI. They actually DID have a really cool and fun AI system in the game.

One example was a guard was hungry and he saw a deer. So he decided to go hunting. The rest of the guards all simultaneously went after him for abandoning his post. Now since there were zero guards in the town all the citizens with bad leaning tendencies started to pillage and the entire town erupted into a brawl.

There are tons of other examples out there like that.
Sounds great, but they didn’t know how to “reel it in”. So they eventually just stripped it out all together.

Anonymous Coward says:

why do companies try this sort of thing? they should know that the teams of dedicated gamers know more about the games than those who made them. this just puts people off buying them because the fear of something being much less good on a new platform compared to the ones it does work on is very high. if it did work as well on the new platform, why have to advertise it using footage from the other game platform? it isn’t the first time Microsoft and others have been caught out pulling this crap. they should know better. it does them more harm than good!

Violynne (profile) says:

I’m going to take a step back and claim this is just another example of Microsoft’s poor PR dept having no clue what they’re doing.

It doesn’t matter that it’s in the game arena. Anything coming out of the Microsoft PR dept should be taken with a grain of salt, followed with a gargle of salt water.

I stopped paying attention to these videos a long time ago.

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