Vita Legal Settlement Offers Live, Terms Have Been Clarified Since 2014 Announcement

by Mike Futter on Apr 05, 2015 at 05:30 AM

Late last year, Sony and the Federal Trade Commission announced a tentative settlement related to Vita advertisements regarding the cross-play feature. The offers for affected consumers are now live (check your email), and they aren’t quite what we were told to expect.

The settlement is open to those United States customers that purchased the handheld prior to July 1, 2012. The FTC deemed them to be deceptive, and while Sony neither accepts nor denies fault as a result of this settlement, you can see for yourself that the claims made in the ad simply aren’t true.

The original announcement in November indicated two options for those able to make a claim. Customers were told they’d be able to choose between $25 refund or $50 PlayStation Store credit in "select video games and/or services."

Now that the redemption site is live, we see there are three choices:

  • $25 cash (in the form of a check sent to your home)
  • $25 PlayStation Store credit
  • One of three game bundles ranging in price from approximately $66 to $100

The three bundles include PlayStation 3 and Vita games. Interestingly, none of them feature cross-play games.

Note that as with most settlements of this type, by accepting one of these offers, you are waiving your right to any future settlement. You can claim your offers here.

(Note: This story originally stated that the proposed FTC settlement promised a $50 PSN credit. That was misinterpreted and has been corrected. The headline and body have been clarified, as has the Our Take below.)


Our Take
The bundles include some good titles, but the fact that this is a Vita settlement that includes PlayStation 3 games is simply odd. Stranger is that none of these games offer the cross-play feature at the center of this settlement.

Of particular note is the change in the credit offer to narrow the understanding of how Sony views the term "refund." While the cash might be considered a refund, it's hard to equate PlayStation store credit, which can only be used for software (and not accessories, for instance) as a "refund." It's a settlement amount that doesn't have the same flexibility (equating it to retail store credit) as the original purchase method, even when narrowing that scope to just products manufactured and/or sold by Sony's PlayStation arm. You can't return a Vita to the PlayStation Store for a refund, nor can you purchase one there, making "refund" a problematic word in this instance.

The bundles, while well exceeding the $50 benchmark are unlikely to be viewed by most as the flexible "select video games" they were expecting.