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Sony Settles With FTC Over "Misleading" Vita Advertising

Consumers who purchased a Vita before a certain date are eligible for a small refund or product voucher.

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Well, this one came out of left field.

Sony's decided to settle with the Federal Trade Commission after the group charged Sony with misleading advertising for the PS Vita. Consumers who purchased a Vita prior to June 1, 2012 will be eligible for a $25 refund or $50 "merchandise voucher."

Specific details will arrive over email in the future, as there's a chance the settlement could change.

The FTC took issue with how Sony pushed the Remote Play, "cross platform," and 3G features of the device. In the eyes of the FTC, the advertising suggested Vita owners could play a signifiant number of games over Remote Play (which isn't really true), it didn't spell out how "cross platform" play could require two copies of the game, and it wasn't clear 3G connections weren't fast enough for online multiplayer.

Here's how the FTC laid it out:

"The FTC's complaint against Sony charges the company with making false claims about the PS Vita's "cross platform gaming" or "cross-save" feature. Sony claimed, for example, that PS Vita users could pause any PS3 game at any time and continue to play the game on their PS Vita from where they left off. This feature, however, was only available for a few PS3 games, and the pause-and-save capability described in the ads varied significantly from game to game. For example, with respect to "MLB 12: The Show," consumers could only save the game to the PS Vita after finishing the entire nine-inning game on their PS3. In addition, Sony failed to inform consumers that to use this feature, purchasers had to buy two versions of the same game – one for their PS3 and one for the PS Vita.

The FTC's complaint also alleges that Sony's PS Vita ads falsely implied that consumers who owned the 3G version of the device (which cost an extra $50 plus monthly fees) could engage in live, multi-player gaming through a 3G network. In fact, consumers could not engage in live, multiplayer gaming.

The complaint further alleges that Sony also falsely claimed that with the "remote play" feature, PS Vita users could easily access their PS3 games on their handheld consoles. In reality, most PS3 games were not remote playable on the PS Vita. Sony also misled consumers by falsely claiming that PS Vita users could remotely play the popular PS3 game, Killzone 3, on the PS Vita. In fact, Sony never enabled remote play on its Killzone 3 game title, and very few, if any, PS3 games of similar size and complexity were remote playable on the PS Vita."

Patrick Klepek on Google+

63 Comments

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dagas

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dagas • 

Got mine about a year ago so not eligable even if I lived in the US.

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AuthenticM

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AuthenticM • 

Is this only available to Americans ?

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Belegorm

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Belegorm • 

@authenticm: Well I'd assume so since the FTC is a U.S. government group. Unless as a token of goodwill Sony offered this refund elsewhere.

On an unrelated note, whenever Sony either upgrades the Vita or puts out a handheld I certainly hope it has 4G support. That's plenty capable for many kinds of online gaming.

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zenzuke

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Kidavenger

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Kidavenger • 

I bought mine from Amazon.com in 2012, but not the 3g version, wonder if I'll qualify.

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Brendan

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Edited By Brendan • 

@dagas: I got mine earlier this year, so...let's falsify documents together! For $25!

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joshwent

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Edited By joshwent • 

It might just be me, but these kind of broad marketing points seem like pretty ambiguous grounds to file a federal complaint under. Even Patrick, who's usually in favor of this kind of government intervention, put the term "misleading" in quotes.

I really hope the FTC doesn't watch the E3 press conferences, or every single console manufacturer and featured developer is gonna get sued.

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ZZoMBiE13

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Edited By ZZoMBiE13 • 

I bought mine at launch. I never really felt mislead though. The price I pay for being informed on a product before dropping money on it.

Of course if I get the e-mail, I'd still take the $50 voucher. :D

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beliefs22

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beliefs22 • 

Wow. These are like the exact reasons I was so upset for a long time after I got my 3g enabled ps vita when it came out. Don't get me wrong, I have had a lot of fun playing the games that I have on the system, but the MAIN draw of the system for me was remote play. I just wanted to play skyrim lying in bed lol.

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deactivated-5a72087901fb1

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Edited By deactivated-5a72087901fb1 • 

@joshwent You hope companies don't continue to get in trouble for misleading advertising? I'm always surprised by attitudes towards this sort of thing "across the pond".

I think you're taking Patricks quotation marks the wrong way. It's good practise for journalists to use quotation marks in such cases to show that they are reporting someone else's findings rather than their own.

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kindgineer

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kindgineer • 

@joshwent: or maybe you should hope they watch it? I'm all for advertising, but Damn if I'm not getting tired of companies holding the power to say/do whatever they want.

Everyone should be aware that things like "3g," "cross-platform," and "remote play" are not common terms for every person out there. Before you decry that statement by saying people should do more research, just remember that taking your knowledge for granted and blaming others for their ignorance is simply hypocritical. I'm sure every soul on this earth has been swayed due to lack of knowledge and peer pressure at some point.

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kubqo

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kubqo • 

As a Europian i wonder if there could be some potential collaboration between FTC and EU. Or maybe our laws are less strict? Anyway, i see this as a good thing. Clearance on marketing side of stuff is never a bad thing and the agreement is a win for customer.

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iAmJohn

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iAmJohn • 

I'm never going to complain about companies being forced to be more honest and realistic about their products and the limits of what they can do.

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ogto

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ogto • 

too bad Europeans don't get jackshit... i'd buy freedom wars or rogue legacy. cause i kinda like my vita.

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BlackLagoon

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@kubqo: PlayStation generally produces separate ads for each territory, so it's unlikely that the specific ad campaign that's the issue here ever aired in Europe.

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SomeJerk

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SomeJerk • 

If they had to settle for this, what can these lawyers do against Ubisoft for AssCreed:Unity?

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Sergio

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Sergio • 

Me too.

I bought mine at launch. I never really felt mislead though. The price I pay for being informed on a product before dropping money on it.

Of course if I get the e-mail, I'd still take the $50 voucher. :D

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Sylect

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Sylect • 

samesies, had my eye on that ratchet and clank trilogy pack for some time now...

@sergio said:

Me too.

@zzombie13 said:

I bought mine at launch. I never really felt mislead though. The price I pay for being informed on a product before dropping money on it.

Of course if I get the e-mail, I'd still take the $50 voucher. :D

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FCDRandy

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FCDRandy • 

Cool, I bought the 3G version and haven't used that since the free first month ran out. I tried to re-up last month and couldn't. This works out pretty well for me I think.

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ChrisTaran

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ChrisTaran • 

Interesting. I also never felt mislead for a single moment as an informed consumer, but I'll certainly take the money or voucher since I qualify.

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Jazz_Lafayette

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It's so rarely we see active consumer protection these days that you sometimes forget accountability is even a thing that can happen. I wonder how much the settlement is worth in total. Probably not a huge dent, but Sony as a whole is already struggling.

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jesterroyal

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Got mine at launch i believe. So. I guess I qualify. Coool.

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xbob42

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xbob42 • 

People saying they "never felt misled because I stay informed" are completely missing the point of a false advertising suit. You staying informed protected you from false advertising, that doesn't mean the false advertising didn't exist.

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RazielCuts

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RazielCuts • 

I thought the misleading advertising was going to be that Sony said they were still supporting the Vita.

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Lurkero

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Lurkero • 

I thought the misleading advertising was going to be that Sony said they were still supporting the Vita.

To be fair, Sony hasn't put much of an effort into advertising Vita in the USA so they would most likely get a pass there.

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Jedted

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Edited By Jedted • 

I bought my Vita in 2013 so i guess i don't qualify.

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agentboolen

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I've been very confused with the remote play since those ads. Seemed like such big promises.

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Haruko

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Haruko • 

WOOO got the 3g version at launch free $50 Woohoo!

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metalsnakezero

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@joshwent said:

It might just be me, but these kind of broad marketing points seem like pretty ambiguous grounds to file a federal complaint under. Even Patrick, who's usually in favor of this kind of government intervention, put the term "misleading" in quotes.

I really hope the FTC doesn't watch the E3 press conferences, or every single console manufacturer and featured developer is gonna get sued.

Yeah, you would think they would go after the last Alien game for being misleading. It kinda odd they are going after the Vita like this and I have never heard of people complaining about it.

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slyspider

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slyspider • 

Cool, guess I get a free vita something

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ChrisTilton

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Edited By ChrisTilton • 

@joshwent said:

It might just be me, but these kind of broad marketing points seem like pretty ambiguous grounds to file a federal complaint under. Even Patrick, who's usually in favor of this kind of government intervention, put the term "misleading" in quotes.

I really hope the FTC doesn't watch the E3 press conferences, or every single console manufacturer and featured developer is gonna get sued.

Yeah, you would think they would go after the last Alien game for being misleading. It kinda odd they are going after the Vita like this and I have never heard of people complaining about it.

There's a big difference between promised features at a press conference, and a product you are selling to consumers with advertising and claims that it can do certain things that it can't.

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Quantical

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Quantical • 

Well remote play is pretty crap.

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niflhe

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niflhe • 

I bought mine used, but I highly doubt it was bought before 2012. Oh well.

Maybe there should be a lawsuit over the price of those fucking memory cards. $100 for 64 GB? Seriously?

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mistersamman

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Edited By mistersamman • 

*checks P4G release date*

Looks like I don't qualify.

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RetroMetal

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RetroMetal • 

I got a Vita at launch.

Is that "before" the date enough?

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FacelessVixen

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LiquidPrince

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What if I bought a Vita at launch, then sold it to buy a white one, then sold that to buy a Japanese slim. Do I qualify?

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squidracerX

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I like my Vita, and i have spent $100s in the PSN store, bought $1000s worth of PS1 - 4 games, and have a lot of Vita games. So a free $50 for some games i wouldn't normally have bought would be great! But how the heck do you prove this? My Vita is old enough that I no longer have any receipt.... My is a launch model so would that just make me eligible?

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fisk0

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fisk0  Moderator • 

Wow. These are like the exact reasons I was so upset for a long time after I got my 3g enabled ps vita when it came out. Don't get me wrong, I have had a lot of fun playing the games that I have on the system, but the MAIN draw of the system for me was remote play. I just wanted to play skyrim lying in bed lol.

Yeah, I had gotten the impression that at a bunch of PS3 games were remote play capable, but I think only one of my games were, Tokyo Jungle.

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AzlamOrlandu

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The costs in regards to these issues are eventually passed onto the consumers. You might have $50 in your pocket, but you'll pay for it over time.

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Nags

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Nags • 

@fisk0: You can play all PSone classics saved to your PS3 via remote play as well. Which is less ideal anyway since the Vita store carries the same PSone library.

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Darlan

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Edited By Darlan • 

I'd really just like to pick up a Vita on the super cheap this Black Friday, but it seems like hardly anyone is carrying the thing anymore. There may be about zero upcoming games for it, and not many true exclusives worth getting excited about, but I'd still love a portable Spelunky/Binding of Issac/Persona 4 machine.

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darkstorn

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Edited By darkstorn • 

It's so rarely we see active consumer protection these days that you sometimes forget accountability is even a thing that can happen. I wonder how much the settlement is worth in total. Probably not a huge dent, but Sony as a whole is already struggling.

Totally. It's refreshing to see the FTC interested in benefiting the consumer.

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PanaMusica

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PanaMusica • 

My Divekick console is just fine, thanks

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AngeTheDude

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Are they just going to go by serial number? I bought a launch Vita off of my buddy last year.

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DangerKick

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DangerKick • 

They should refund all the people they told that the ps2 was going to have Toy Story graphics as well.

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iAmJohn

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iAmJohn • 

@azlamorlandu: What are you trying to say? That Sony shouldn't be punished for misleading people with its advertising?

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ICantBeStopped

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Edited By ICantBeStopped • 

It's 7:30 and I have nothing to watch.

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TheTerribleFamiliar

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DAMMIT! I bought one using credit I received for my birthday on June 10, 2012.

KAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHN!!!!