Sony is expected to refund customers $25 in cash or credit via a $50 Sony merchandise Voucher, the recipient has to have purchased a Sony Vita before June 1, 2012 claims the US Federal Trade Commission. It is not known whether Sony is under investigation in Australia.
Authorities allege that Sony falsely promised consumers that they would be able to pause games on their PlayStation 3 home gaming system and then continue them seamlessly on their hand-held PlayStation Vita. The feature was one of the main selling points highlighted in Sony's advertising campaign. In reality, the FTC says, only a few games offered such "cross platform gaming," and on a limited basis.
The settlement is the latest in a series of enforcement actions by the FTC, reflecting a more aggressive approach to policing the billing, marketing and performance of mobile technology products.
The FTC also alleges that Sony's ads falsely implied that consumers who bought versions of the PlayStation Vita with a 3G wireless connection would be able to play live against other players, when in reality that option didn't exist.
In a related action, the FTC also charged Sony's advertising agency Deutsch LA with telling its employees to hype the PlayStation Vita on Twitter, without disclosing their connection to the advertising agency or its client Sony. Under a separate settlement, Deutsch LA is barred from such conduct in the future.