Fan Reports Electronic Arts to the FTC Over ME3 Ending
We’ve written a lot about the ending to Mass Effect 3—well, more specifically, we’ve written a lot about how pissed off fans are about the ending. So far, most of the efforts angry gamers have made to have their dissatisfaction made known have been taking to the forums to voice their disdain, and to start a petition/fundraiser, which, as of this writing, has raised $67,174.39, a very laudable and shocking amount of money to be donated to the Child’s Play Charity. That’s a great way to turn lemons into lemonade.
But not all fans have been so constructive. One, in fact, has decided to try and get the legal system on his side. According to a post on GamePur, BioWare forum user “El_Spiko” posted about his recent filing with the Federal Trade Commission, which claims that EA has failed to deliver on their promises for Mass Effect 3, and as such, committed an act of false advertising.
Here’s his explanation on the BioWare forum:
“After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims. This thread has a great compilation of their claims:
Clearly, none fo [sic] these were represented in the ending. If anyone else wishes to file a complaint (the more there are the more likely the FTC will take action) just go to FTC.gov and fill out a complaint form in the Consumer Protection section. Here’s EA HQ’s address and phone number:
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065
This is not something [sic] I was happy to do, but after the terrible ending that was in no way the product that had been advertised to me and the lack of any kind of response from Bioware/EA to address this, I felt it was one of my only recourses. I’ll be returning my copy of the game before the end of my 30 day return policy if the ending still hasn’t been addressed by then.
UPDATE: Filed a Better Business Bureau complaint as well. They can be found at BBB.org. The BBB will at the very least notify EA of any complaints they receive [sic], so every complaint filed is something that EA will hear about.”
Likely sensing the scorn that would come his way, El_Spiko said, “before you start debating how dumb I am,” he wanted to offer a disclaimer, noting that the filing was not a lawsuit, nor a serious legal action. “This is a complaint about EA/Bioware’s advertising, filed with the organizations that handle false advertising in the U.S…If you don’t think that exercising one of the few, civil, legal ways available to hold a company accountable is stupid or immature, that’s fine. If somehow (space magic?) they actually decided to do something other than send EA an email about it, there would be a miniscule fine, that’s it.”
Fair enough, I guess. At least he took the trouble to acknowledge the implications the action might have. At the same time, it’s tough to claim “false advertising” when it comes to something subjective, like the ending of a game, movie, or book. I mean, the game ended, didn’t it? It was advertised as a game, and that’s what it was. I mean, if you could claim “false advertising” for something you just don’t like, wouldn’t every game-maker, TV producer, or film exec be fined for this? Something tells me this won’t really go anywhere.
What do you think? Is EA guilty of false advertising? Or has El_Spiko gone further than angry fandom would seem to allow?