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Sony to Pay Refunds Over Misleading PlayStation Vita Ads After Settling FTC Charge

$25 in cash, or a $50 voucher for people who bought before June 2012.

Reuters / Toru Hanai

Sony misled consumers when it advertised its handheld gaming device, the PlayStation Vita, the Federal Trade Commission has ruled, and now Sony will have to pay up — to the tune of nearly $14 million, according to hardware estimates.

The FTC charged that Sony’s ads for the Vita over-promised on its online multiplayer capabilities. The company marketed what’s known as a “remote play” feature, which connected the handheld player to Sony’s home console, the PlayStation 3. The feature lets users pause games on one device and pick them up on another, but required buying copies of the game for both devices and only worked for a few games, the FTC said.

It was only with last year’s PlayStation 4 that remote play launched as a feature for all new console games, rather than just a select few.

Anyone who bought a Vita before June 1, 2012 will be eligible for a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 voucher for certain select video games, according to the FTC. The Vita retailed at the time for about $250. Sony will email those people with more detail after the settlement is finalized.

Sony did not release U.S.-only sales numbers for the Vita, but by the end of June 2012 it had sold 2.2 million of them worldwide, according to Slashgear. 1.2 million of that came between the U.S. launch in February 2012 and the Japanese rollout the year before; unofficial estimates based on communication around the NPD’s monthly U.S. retail reports (1, 2, 3, 4) put the U.S. total prior to June 1 at between 550,000 and 581,000, which would put Sony on the hook for more than $13.75 million if all customers chose the cash option.

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