In spite of generally positive reviews when it launched back in 2012, the PlayStation Vita had turbulent waters ahead of it. The Vita debuted at a time when tablets and smartphones were becoming serious competition for handheld gaming consoles, and the Vita’s $300 price point was also a point of contention for many. The handheld even wound up on Marketwatch’s “Top 8 Product Flops of 2012” list, alongside the likes of Apple Maps, Disney’s John Carter, and the Dodge Dart. But if you were an early adopter of the Vita, there’s some good news headed your way.
Vita’s troubles weren’t limited to bad press. In November 2014, the Federal Trade Commission found Sony guilty of “deceptive acts or practices” in their advertising campaign for the Vita. That ruling might have flown below the radar for some Vita owners, but there’s definitely reason to pay attention now, because there are free games and cash refunds to be had.
Part of Sony’s settlement required the company to compensate Vita customers who purchased the handheld console prior to June 1, 2012. Eligible Vita customers involved in the lawsuit should have received an email from Sony including details of how to claim their refund. Those who purchased a Vita in the first half of 2012 and are afraid their email might have gotten lost in the spam filter can click over to Sony’s Vita Claims website for information about how to file a claim.
Eligible Vita owners have three options when it comes to claiming their refund: a $25 check, $25 in PlayStation Store credit, or a voucher good for one of three game bundles containing a mix of PS3 and Vita titles. The cheapest of the game bundles would retail for around $65, so they are probably the smart way to go for gamers who don’t already own the titles in question. Here are the three available bundles:
- Action/Adventure bundle: God of War Collection (PS3), Beyond: Two Souls (PS3), Twisted Metal (PS3), and Unit 13 (Vita)
- Family Friendly bundle: LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3), Puppeteer (PS3), Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita), and ModNation Racers: Road Trip (Vita)
- Variety pack: God of War Collection (PS3), LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3), ModNation Racers: Road Trip (Vita), and Unit 13 (Vita)
There’s no word on the site as to when claimants will receive their refunds.
So what exactly did Sony do that got them in trouble with the FTC? The “deceptive acts or practices” were tied to several claims made by Sony during the Vita marketing push. Ads suggested the Vita’s “Remote Play” would work with any PS3 game, but that isn’t the case. As Eurogamer pointed out last November, “there were even ads showing someone playing Killzone 3 on the Vita, despite the fact that the game doesn’t feature Remote Play support.”
The FTC ruling also singled out the Vita’s much-hyped Cross-Saving feature, which lets the player stop playing a game on the PS3 and then pick right up on the Vita. Again, the FTC ruling found that Sony’s advertising suggested this functionality would be available for all titles, and also didn’t make clear that gamers would have to own both the PS3 and Vita version of a title to use the Cross-Saving feature.
Interested parties can read the full FTC ruling here.