SEGA Admits Ads "Did Not Accurately Reflect" The Game
After receiving a complaint about misleading and unrepresentative trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines, the Advertising Standards Authority has insisted that SEGA runs disclaimers going forward.
Reddit user subpardave contacted the ASA following the realisation that numerous pre-release trailers didn't resemble the finished product, and promised features that never made it into the game.
“I submitted my complaint based on the absurd differences between the ‘in game’ and ‘playthorugh’ footage that was widely used to advertise A:CM," subpardave explained in the Reddit post. "Of course, the game looked and played NOTHING like what was shown to consumers."
"The games industry – like any other – needs to be held accountable for blatantly deceiving the consumer. And doubly so when a wall of silence is the only response to resounding criticism for shipping a shoddy product, having shown off one with all the bells and whistles."
“The ASA has little real power. But negative press? That does.”
Following the initial complaint, the ASA contacted SEGA, who admitted that the trailers weren't representative of the (shoddy) finished article. Here's their response, which you can read in full here.
“Sega Europe acknowledged your objection that the trailers did not accurately reflect the final content of the game. They agreed to add a disclaimer, both on their website and in all relevant Youtube videos, which explains that the trailers depict footage of the demo versions of the game. The disclaimer will be visible when each online trailer is played.
“On the basis of the advertiser’s written assurance, we have decided to informally uphold your complaint. Basic information, including the advertiser’s name and where the ad appeared, will be published on our website, www.asa.org.uk on 27th March 2012.
“Our role in cases such as this is to ensure that marketing material isn’t likely to materially mislead the public,” the missive concluded. “We consider that with this disclaimer in place, customers are unlikely to get the impression that the trailer shows the finished product, and the ads are therefore unlikely to mislead.”
The disparity between Aliens: Colonial Marines and its trailer footage, screenshots, Randy's numerous promises and purpose-built E3 demo caused both gamers and hacks alike to cry foul over Gearbox' abortive sequel. Is this a step in the right direction, or just a slap on the wrist?