There’s been a lot of chatter about Mass Effect 3 and its ending since it launched a little over a month ago. We’ve covered the controversy here like many other news sites. A new development in the situation has now arisen with the Better Business Bureau calling Bioware’s claims to meaningful choices to actually have been false advertising.
What this means in the long run is fairly irrelevant, though it may have some portent to the sort of litigious person who takes advantage of the U.S. legal system. The BBB is a consumer advocacy group with no actual legal authority. While complaints have been made to an organization that does have legal power, the FTC, no mention has yet been made of whether they’re even investigating the claims. The BBB’s interpretation of the claims is available on their blog.
Their essential argument rests on one bullet point from Bioware’s advertising:
“Experience the beginning, middle, and end of an emotional story unlike any other, where the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome”.
According to them, this is an “absolute” statement and therefore must be upheld as true in the final product. I can see the point, as many of the decisions, though they did change a few in-game events, did not actually shape the outcome.
As I mentioned above, this doesn’t actually change anything, and likely won’t make a difference in the long run. The BBB could lower their rating of Bioware and EA as a consumer-friendly companies. But who checks that stuff when they’re buying a game? That’s why we use Metacritic. With no legal authority, the BBB likely can’t take this any further than simply expressing an opinion.
But what if they could? Does that mean I can sue a studio for calling a movie the “feel-good comedy of the year” or other such nonsense? Maybe sue McDonald’s for advertising their best french fries ever?
What do you think? Did they actually falsely advertise their game, or just not fulfill an expectation? Sound off in the comments.