Sony To Issue Refunds Over Misleading PS Vita Ads

In early ads for the PS Vita (see below for actual video), Sony claimed that you could easily pause your PlayStation 3 game and then pick up where you left off using your Vita. In truth, most PS3 games did not support this cross play and the pause-and-play functionality rarely worked as advertised.

In early ads for the PS Vita (see below for actual video), Sony claimed that you could easily pause your PlayStation 3 game and then pick up where you left off using your Vita. In truth, most PS3 games did not support this cross play and the pause-and-play functionality rarely worked as advertised.

When Sony launched its handheld PlayStation Vita device nearly three years ago, ads promised that the Vita would include “game changing” technology, like the ability to play games stored remotely on PlayStation 3 consoles, or that you could save a game on your PS 3 and use your Vita to pick up where you left off, or that you could use the 3G version of the Vita to access a library of multiplayer games anywhere with a data connection. The Vita never quite lived up to this early hype, which is why — as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission — Sony will issue partial refunds to early adopters of the device.

In its complaint [PDF] against Sony, the FTC alleged that the electronics giant misled consumers with Vita ads that began running in late 2011 and continued through the first half of 2012.

That remote play feature? The FTC says that because the PS3 was never designed with this function in mind, Vita owners “cannot easily access their PS3 games on the PS Vita” and that “Most PS3 games are not remote playable on the PS Vita.”

The FTC also called shenanigans on the claim that you could pause your PS3 game and pick it up via the Vita.

“This cross platform gaming feature is only available for a limited number of PS3 game titles, and the pause and save feature varies significantly by game,” reads the complaint, which gives the example of MLB 12: The Show, which requires that you finish an entire 9-inning game before you can pause and save to the Vita.

And as for being able to blast your way through some fast-moving multiplayer games on you 3G Vita — that didn’t happen either, with multiplayer gaming over 3G often restricted to turn-based multiplayer games.

So, as part of its settlement deal with the FTC, Sony will offer refunds — either a $25 cash credit/refund or a $50 voucher for stuff from Sony — to people who purchased a Vita before June 1, 2012.

Sony will eventually notify eligible Vita customers once the settlement is finalized.

“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, which also went after ad agency Deutsch LA, for not only creating the misleading campaign but for using its employees to go on Twitter and talk up the Vita without revealing their connection to the agency or to Sony.