The ruling found that an early marketing campaign for the device made several misleading technical claims about its capabilities. In adverts produced by the firm Deutsch LA, it was suggested that the “remote play” feature would allow gamers to pause any PlayStation 3 game and then continue to play on the Vita. In reality, the set of features were only supported by a minority of PS3 games.
The FTC also alleged that Sony’s ads were misleading about the online capabilities of the device. Adverts suggested that owners of a Vita with a 3G subscription would be able to take part in live online multiplayer gaming sessions with other players. In fact, live online play was not supported.
Finally, the FTC found that accounts executives from Deutsch LA had posted positive messages about Vita to the social media site Twitter, using the hashtag “#gamechanger” without disclosing that they were employees of the agency.
As a result of the ruling, SCEA will be required to provide consumers who bought a PS Vita before 1 June, 2012, a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 merchandise voucher for PlayStation games or services.
“As we enter the year’s biggest shopping period, companies need to be reminded that if they make product promises to consumers – as Sony did with the ‘game changing’ features of its PS Vita – they must deliver on those pledges,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
It has been a challenging month for the Vita, which has sold around ten million units since its launch in February 2012. It’s claimed that a recent YouTube video for the console was withdrawn by Sony when viewers complained that it was sexist and overly suggestive.
This article was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 26th November 2014 11.37 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010