ASA bans Final Fantasy XIII TV ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned a TV advert for Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII after it was ruled that footage from the PS3 version of the game was used to promote the Xbox 360 SKU.

The ruling comes after a viewer complained that the ad was misleading because the game footage in the ad was from the PS3 version of the game, which was of better quality to that of the Xbox 360”.

Clearcast, the organisation that pre-approves most British TV ads, claims that it was assured by Square Enix that there was no discernable difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 games as both output at the same resolution.

However, the ASA compared both games side-by-side and concluded that: Images from the PS3 version of the game were sharper than those on the Xbox 360. The PS3 image in video sequences appeared sharper and colours were more vivid than those of the Xbox 360.

We considered that, because the ad promoted the game on the Xbox 360 platform, it should have featured footage derived from that console. Because it did not, and because we considered that the use of PS3 footage in the ad exaggerated the quality of the footage available on the Xbox 360, albeit marginally, we concluded the ad was misleading.”

As a result the ASA has ruled that Square Enix can no longer broadcast the ad in its current form.

In its defence Square Enix argued that: The ad did not feature gameplay footage of images derived from a particular console, but rather contained full motion video (FMV) cut scenes.

They said it could have been captured on any device and was not content specifically generated by a particular console. Square Enix said that there were hardware differences between the PS3 and the Xbox 360 which meant that the software could be compressed onto one disc on the PS3, but would be compressed to fit onto three DVDs for the Xbox 360 platform. They said that despite these differences, because the games were set to the same resolution, they were comparable in terms of quality.

Square Enix believed there was no substantive difference in the output of the game, except in very high definition where there may be subtle differences due to the hardware upon which the footage was viewed. However, they did not accept that this slight difference would be perceived by most viewers. Square Enix said the ad was compressed into a standard definition (SD) format for broadcast and explained it was inevitable that the graphics would not be as sharp as they would be on a console or if the ad were viewed in High Definition (HD).”

In what seems to have become an accustomed tradition at national freesheet Metro, the newspaper claims in its report on the story that:

A gaming expert yesterday warned the decision could hurt Microsoft, makers of the Xbox. ‘A ruling like this could prove devastating to sales of the Xbox, simply because gamers are a very demanding lot who expect the very best,’ said the anonymous expert.”

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