Sony has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after being charged with making misleading claims about the capabilities of the PS Vita. Those claims — which Sony described as "game changing" features in ads around the time of the Vita's launch — pertain primarily to how the handheld would be able to interact with the PlayStation 3.
"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," the FTC explains. "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." Similarly, the FTC says that Sony greatly exaggerated the remote play feature of the Vita, which is only supported by a scant few PS3 games, and falsely claimed that Vita owners would be able to play multiplayer games live with a 3G connection.
"Companies need to be reminded that if they make product promises to consumers, they must deliver on those pledges."
The commission also took issue with Deutsch LA, the advertising company that handled the launch campaign, saying that employees were instructed to promote the Vita on Twitter without disclosing their involvement with Sony.
"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," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, Sony has been barred from making more of these claims in the future, while consumers who bought a Vita prior to June 1st, 2012 are eligible for either a $25 cash refund or $50 worth of credit towards select games or services. Sony is expected to email those owners impacted by the settlement. "The FTC will not hesitate to act on behalf of consumers when companies or advertisers make false product claims," explained Rich.
Unfortunately, three years later, advertising for the Vita isn't much better.