The Better Business Bureau says that BioWare’s promises for Mass Effect 3 do in fact constitute false advertising.
The brouhaha over the end of Mass Effect 3 is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Fans aren’t just upset, they’re seriously pissed off, and the staying power of their their nerd rage is almost beyond belief. Petitions and angry forum posts are par for the course, but an anger-fueled, $80,000 Child’s Play drive? An FTC complaint? And in case that’s not enough, now Majorie Stephens, the director of communications for the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana, has weighed in on the matter with an opinion that’s certain to fan the flames even higher: All those complaints about false advertising are valid – technically speaking, anyway.
As Stephens explains on the Better Business Bureau blog, it comes down to a question of absolutes. The Mass Effect website promises, among other things, that “the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome,” which as she notes does not leave a lot of room for interpretation. “There is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute,” she wrote. The problem is that based on the flood of virtually identical complaints, it’s not actually true.
Stephens’ proclamation carries no legal weight but it’ll probably make a lot of aggrieved fans feel a little better about the whole thing, or at least give them some sense of validation. She also expressed hope that it might teach advertisers to take a little more care about promising the moon if they can’t deliver. “The lesson to be learned here is companies should give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements,” she continued. “Otherwise, there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums.”
“Detrimental effects” indeed. Even BioWare’s late-to-the-game efforts to smooth the waters with the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC that will “clarify” the ending seems to have only made things worse, as fans who want a “better” ending say that mere clarification isn’t nearly enough, while those who hoped BioWare would stick to its guns are disappointed that it gave in to the howling. In other words, we can expect this fight to carry on for awhile yet, probably at least until sometime this summer, when the Extended Cut DLC comes out.