Saturday, February 25, 2006

Activision Forced to Pull Misleading Call of Duty ads


Activision, a very well-known publisher in today’s video game market, is being forced to pull their ads for their latest WWII shooters ‘Call of Duty: Big Red One’ and ‘Call of Duty 2’ because they were misleading according to the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Instead of using actual in-game gameplay, the ads used pre-rendered footage of the games. Activision tried to defend their selves saying that this is ‘common practice’ in the video game industry, but even so, these ads are being considered false advertising as they are not the exact product being shown.

Activision is not the only party guilty of this, however. Open up any video-game related magazine today and take a look at some of the ads or previews, and what you see in the screens are sometimes barely even close to what the actual game looks like in motion. Remember those amazing screen-shots of Halo 2 that previews in video game magazines claimed to be of the “Actual gameplay”? Well, the turned out to be pre-rendered footage or just cinematics, though video game publications may be getting paid to boast these claims to build up hype.

Although Activision said they were in ‘good faith’ when producing these ads, I can’t say they are. Although they are not the only game company guilty of this, they were the first to get caught red handed, and there are thousands of people who buy games based on what the back of the box looks like (though keep in mind I am certainly not one of them), and then when they actually pop the game in, they end up disappointed. Although buying a game based on screen shots is never a good idea, when they see “actual footage” on television commercials and the game itself turns out to be vastly different from what is seen, then you know there is a problem, in which Activision has on their hands now.

15 Comments:

At 6:56 AM, Blogger Tomleecee said...

I suppose that when games companies use pre-rendered images in ads it probably should be labelled as false advertising - obviously, people who play games regularly can tell the difference between cinematics/FMV and actual gamplay shots, but people who are perhaps buying for someone else or are not as knowledgeable are being duped into purchasing a product that clearly will not have the advertised visuals.

I remeber when the PSX first came out, there was a football (soccer) game called Goal Storm and on the back of the box it showed all these pre rendered images of players running about etc - but no actual in-game shots. Whoever bought that game on the merit of the box was in for a suprise when they got it home!

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger gnome said...

It is false advertising, but also such a common game-selling technique. I go back to the Amiga-era... The death-screen of Shadow of the Beast 2 was its most advertised screenshot...

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger gnome said...

Oh, ross, one more thing...
Just a question ... are you interested in a link-exchange?

 
At 3:53 PM, Anonymous PsyClerk said...

I wonder why Activision got singled out. I seem to recall the ads for Brothers in Arms doing the exact same thing. Maybe they didn't run those ads in the UK?

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Ross said...

Gnome, you mean like put each other's links on each others blogs? If thats what you mean, then sure. Check out the front page of my blog, and under links yours should be there now.

 
At 4:28 PM, Blogger gnome said...

Thanks a ton...exactly what I meant, I'll soon have my link to you ready...
Thanks again mate...

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Tomleecee said...

Another game ad that didnt feature ANY ingame footage was the one for Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban. It was all pre-rendered mock-ups, but at least EA had the decency to put 'not actual game footage' at the bottom of the screen...

To answer Psyclerk, I dont actually recall ever seeing an an ad for Brothers in Arms - to be honest, a games ad on TV is a pretty rare occurance here!

PS, I've already got a link to Pro Gamer!

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger Ross said...

Thanks dude, yours is on the way as well...

If anyone wants to link up, just ask!

BTW, about that Goal Storm game, I have another of those old Konami sports games called 'NBA In the Zone', and its awful as well... I only bought it because it was a long-box game, and I dont think you guys in the U.K. got games released in that way, so I'll explain it a bit.

In the first two years of the PSX they were testing new ideas for game boxes before they went to using the standard (and much more convient) jewel cases, they had large card-board and Saturn-style long box cases. I used to collect them before I thought to myself "Why am I collecting these POS games for no reason"? The best one I own is probably the original Tekken, and I cant say that one is even that great...

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Tomleecee said...

Wow, quick reply! Yeah, I remember the old boxes, but they werent long here, they were the same size/dimensions as the normal PSX ones, but they were made of card. Wierd. Who decided that along one would be good in the US and a small one here?! lol

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Ross said...

I'm not sure... maybe Sony is trying to imply a message of some sort? I guess we'll never know...

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger gnome said...

Oh, and tomleecee, how about we too link to each other?

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger Tomleecee said...

Gnome - yeah, sounds like a good idea...consider it done!

 
At 5:12 PM, Blogger gnome said...

Cheers to both, and ross, thanks for bringing peoples of the world together :)

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Tomleecee said...

Hear hear! Ross - is that IGN link your actual games collection? If it is...whoa! Thats what I call Fuckin. Hard. Core. Ha Ha!

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger Ross said...

Yep, thats my official game collection all right!

And yes, Hard.Core. Lol.

 

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