Square Enix rapped over Final Fantasy ad
ASA upholds complaint that 360 TV ad for Final Fantasy XIII showed PS3 footage
The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has found that Square Enix misled customers with adverts for Final Fantasy XIII, which used images from the PlayStation 3 version of the game rather than the Xbox 360.
Although the game is multi-format, the advert featured no mention of the PlayStation 3 version and ended with a prominent image of the Xbox 360 console and logo. Following a complaint the ASA investigated the advert and agreed that the differences between the versions amounted to misleading advertising.
As a result the ASA ordered Square Enix not to show the advert again, although this fact has only just become apparent via a report on the organisation's website.
Major discrepancies between Xbox 360 and PS3 multi-format titles have become less common in recent years, but many reviews noted that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII was visually inferior to the PS3.
Website Digital Foundry catalogued differences such as lower resolution gameplay visuals and heavily compressed cut scene footage. The television advert was composed exclusively of the latter.
Square Enix attempted to argue that the cut scenes were not generated by either the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game engine and so was not content specific - although the company admitted that differences were visible "in very high definition," they "did not accept that this slight difference would be perceived by most viewers".
The ASA though concluded that there was a "discernible difference" between the picture quality of the same game running on both consoles.
"We considered that, because the ad promoted the game on the Xbox 360 platform, it should have featured footage derived from that console," says the ASA report. "Because it did not, and 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."
Videogame publishers often ran foul of the ASA in previous generations, where it became commonplace for adverts to feature pre-rendered footage created specifically for an advert - rather than in-game footage or cut scenes.
This practice has now largely died out, in part due to an ASA crackdown following complaints (warning: .PDF file) over adverts for games such as Activision's Call Of Duty 2.