The guardians of advertising standards in the UK - the appropriately named Advertising Standards Authority - have ruled that Square Enix misled consumers by using PlayStation 3 footage in its Final Fantasy XIII TV advert that specifically promoted the Xbox 360 version of the game.
Here's the commercial in question. It aired in the UK in March this year and, as you can see, consists entirely of cut-scene footage:
One solitary viewer complained that the images in the advert were of a higher quality than could be produced by the Xbox 360. The ASA sprang into action and began side-by-side testing on identical TV set-ups of both versions. This is what they had to say about the results:
"We noted that there was a discernible difference in the picture quality of the two - the PS3 image in video sequences appeared sharper and colours were more vivid than those of the Xbox 360.... because we considered that the use of PS3 footage in the ad exaggerated the quality of the footage available on the Xbox 360, albeit marginally, we concluded the ad was misleading."
Square Enix admitted that PS3 footage had indeed been used. But they reasoned that they 'did not believe any average viewer, or indeed avid gamer, would perceive any difference in the output unless reviewing the material forensically'.
Which is a fair enough sort of statement, at least for my broken myopic eyes. But that's not really the point. The commercial should have used footage from the version of Final Fantasy XIII that it was encouraging punters to purchase. Anything else is a mistruth, a misrepresentation and - as the ASA rightly decreed - misleading.
August 18, 2010