Easter is the holiday for resurrections, and not to be outdone by Jesus, Better Business Bureau’s Director of Communications of Northern Indiana, Marjorie Stevens, revived the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy by making a post on the BBB Consumer News and Opinion Blog. In her piece, she writes, “…did Bio Ware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did.”
She takes some examples of how BioWare advertised Mass Effect 3 from the ME website, such as: “Experience the beginning, middle, and end of an emotional story unlike any other, where the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome,” and, “Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios,” and then analyzes whether or not this could be considered false advertising.
I already gave away the ending (to her analysis) by saying that the answer is technically yes, but here is how she proceeds:
In the first bullet point, where it states ‘the decisions you make completely shape your experience’, there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute. The next statement is not so absolute. It states ‘your choices drive powerful outcomes’. A consumer would have to very carefully analyze this statement to come to a conclusion that the game’s outcome is not ‘wholly’ determined by one’s choices. This statement, really though, is very subject to interpretation. Also this is just a small example of their advertising and does not take into account anything that might have been said, as far as their public relations and other advertising campaigns.
She then advises companies to, “give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements,” because, “there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums.” She then links to the BBB’s Code on Advertising, a lengthy document which I suspect BioWare maybe just skimmed.
This doesn’t really mean anything, as Stevens doesn’t state any kind of action being taken against BioWare other than online movements and BioWare has already relented somewhat by promising an Extended Cut that they said will take better account of the choices players made. Of course, whether that is some more false advertising remains to be seen.