Video game companies seem happy to hoodwink us over their products. The latest culprit is Final Fantasy creator Square Enix, who has just had their advertisement banned for being misleading.
The game released on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 to record sales in March, but a deal was struck up to advertise the Xbox 360 version only. There was only one ickle problem – the ad’s footage came from the PS3.
Final airing for fantasy ad
At first, you’d think this wasn’t much of a problem – but there had already been much furore over the Xbox 360 version of the game not being up to par. The PS3 version came out on top with a higher resolution (thus ‘sharper’) and was generally higher quality.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received just one complaint about this misleading advert, but decided to investigate. They agreed that there was a ‘discernible difference in the picture quality’ and banned the ad outright for exaggerating the quality of the Xbox 360 game.
Square Enix’s response was that the ad didn’t actually contain any gameplay footage – a pet peeve of mine. This is a sorry excuse when even the game’s cutscenes were lower quality on the Xbox 360 (the result of poorly porting the game from the PS3’s Blu-ray disc to the Xbox 360’s DVDs).
Stop misleading us with video game ads
This is the latest in a string of video games that have been accused of misadvertising. The most sickening was a Tiger Woods golfing game being advertised for the Nintendo Wii with Xbox 360 footage. The discrepancy between the graphics on these two consoles is so great that I could only interpret it as outright deception.
Personally, I’m fed up with seeing pre-rendered footage on video game adverts – i.e. footage that you can’t actually play when you take the game home. When I see highly impressive footage of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario jumping over hurdles, and go home to boxy characters on my Wii, I’m not best pleased.
Yes, you won’t find me fooled by these ads (at least I’d like to think I won’t be) but I can see many could be – albeit the small print says the trailer isn’t in-game. Even pictures of games in magazines, which look better than the game you’ll buy (creatively named as ‘bullshots’) grind my gears.
In the end, why can’t video game companies simply show us what we’re actually buying? After seeing a live-action trailer for Avatar, you’d be a little bit disappointed if you turned up to an Avatar cartoon at the cinema. Wouldn’t you?