Sony, accused of deceptively marketing the PlayStation Vita, has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators are now charging the tech company's advertising partner on using deceit to promote the portable gaming console.
The PS Vita was marketed as delivering "game changing" features, but the FTC asserts the promoted technologies weren't as widely implemented as advertised. Specifically, the FTC charged Sony with failing to deliver on the promise of cross-play and remote play.
The FTC says Sony falsely depicted the PS Vita as being capable of launching any PS3 game remotely. The commission also said the ability to pause a game on PS3 and to pick it up on the PS Vita wasn't as widely available as advertised.
The FTC points to an ad in which the PS Vita plays Killzone 3 via remote play. But, like most PS3 titles, Killzone 3 was never available via remote play.
As a result of the settlement with the FTC, Sony has agreed to abstain from making similarly misleading claims about its products and services. The tech company will give $25 cash or $50 in merchandise to any consumer who purchased a PS Vita before June 1, 2012.
The deceptive marketing of the PS Vita didn't end there, according to the FTC. As the commission wrapped up its pursuit of Sony, the FTC charged Deutsch LA, a marketing firm, with misleading consumers.
After the ad firm began using the hashtag "#gamechanger" to promote the PS Vita, an assistant account executive at Deutsch LA asked the company's staff to join in on promoting the campaign.
Deutsch LA employees used their personal Twitter accounts to tweet positive reviews about the PS Vita, while failing to disclose their connections with Sony, according to the FTC's complaint.
In a statement, Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the FTC won't hesitate to act in the interest of consumers when organizations make false claims about products.
"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," Rich stated.
The FTC settlement regarding the PS Vita comes roughly a week after the FTC shuttered two telecommunications companies to compel the organizations to answers to charges of fraud. The telecommunications companies are accused of fabricating computer problems and then charging consumers obscene amounts of money to have the nonexistent issues remedied.