Menu

ContinueEnd News

A+ A A-

Did NetherRealm Studios Falsely Advertise Injustice's Season Pass?

  • Written by Christopher Jones

On Tuesday NetherRealm Studios released their first batch of DLC for their newest fighting game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The content included the first of four new fighters planned, and two new skin packs. Fans who had already purchased the game's "Season Pass" were less than pleased when they found out that they would have to pay an additional cost to download the skin packs, having previously been under the impression that all of the game's DLC was included in the season pass.

Those who were outraged wasted no time letting the Injustice team know about it, and profanity laced cries of, "False advertising!" were all over the game's Facebook updates for the rest of the day. Conventionally, a season pass is the cheapest way to get all of a game's future downloadable content for a discounted price. It's been utilized by virtually every franchise since it's inception. Battlefield, Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Gears of War and Bioshock are some of the more well known games to include this feature; and all use a pretty unilateral definition to set the parameter's of what the season pass will include.

Injustice: Gods Among Us gave players the option of downloading the season pass, but never stated that they would be getting all of the game's content. What the information says when reading the description is that, if you choose to buy the season pass instead of each additional character, you will be getting four characters for the price of three. The point of confusion might be that included in the purchase of the season pass is a set of "Flashpoint" skins, leading players to believe that further skin packs would be included as they are released simultaneously with new characters, but at no point does it say that the season pass will include new skins. In fact, it doesn't mention including anything but new characters. Therein lies the problem.

There is no set definition for what exactly the term "Season Pass" should mean. It's become more of a gaming industry convention, than a set business practice. For almost every other game it has meant all future DLC at a discounted price - hence the title "Season Pass." You are paying one price upfront to get the rest of the content that will be released for that title throughout the current gaming season. So while Injustice never made any mention of their season pass including all skin packs, the issue that many found was that by excluding content they have essentially not given people a season pass, but rather a "Character Pass."

Can that really be considered false advertising though? The Better Business Bureau's "Basic Principles of Advertising" state that, "Advertisements which are untrue, misleading, deceptive, fraudulent, falsely disparaging of competitors, or insincere offers to sell, shall not be used."¹ This is where a lot of fans feel that NetherRealm Studios committed the infraction. The problem with their argument is that they were expecting something that they were not promised, due largely to their expectations of how other entities in the gaming industry have used the season pass.

Expecting something from one product without being told you would receive it because that's how another product used it is more akin to not reading the fine print on a coupon, than to being deceived by a company/advertisement. Consider also that the BBB's "Basic Principles of Advertising" go on to state that, "An advertisement as a whole may be misleading although every sentence separately considered is literally true. Misrepresentation may result not only from direct statements but by omitting or obscuring a material fact."² This is where both sides' biggest argument lies.

NetherRealm Studios cannot be held accountable for consumers misinterpreting their product's description, but at the same time an omission of information is what has gotten fans who purchased the season pass so riled up in the first place. As someone who spent a better part of a decade working retail, I can assure you that this sort of advertising is standard practice. You draw in consumers with a great deal that inflates their expectations, but if they don't read the fine print, or their reading comprehension fails them - they get really pissed off.

The question then becomes - why not just put "The Season Pass does not include skin packs" in the product description? It's a simple solution to avoid fan backlash. Those who bought the deluxe edition versions of Injustice and the season pass don't feel like they should have to spend more money after investing almost $200 on a single product. The argument could be made, from a marketing standpoint, that advertising what a product does NOT include can lead to a decrease in sales. So by omitting that detail, and instead listing what it does include, a company has a better chance to sell more units.

This whole "controversy" is a very serious case of give and take. Should fans have read the description of what the season pass included? Yes. Should NetherRealm Studios have been more clear that they wouldn't be getting the skin packs as part of the deal? Yes. Is the company guilty of false advertising? No. It's as simple as that. They did not unethically deceive their consumers into purchasing their product. However, the term "Season Pass" has become so synonymous with purchasing DLC content in bulk that they probably should have renamed it something like "Character Pass" or "Fighter's Pack." As there is no set business definition of how to use the term "Season Pass" other than a discounted rate for DLC the argument that NetherRealm Studios falsely advertised their product falls flat.

Was the advertising shitty? Yes. Unlawful? No.

Comments   

 
dumpster sizes
0 #10 dumpster sizes 2014-08-05 17:57
I do acknowledge that it is filled only up to the plate and said" no problem. waste can also give them nice handmade rag rugs made from the ones that you must disassemble then sort the parts. If you sell them when you are pleased with your results, iron the rag area rug can be made out of them.
Quote
 
 
www.nexopia.com
0 #9 www.nexopia.com 2014-07-22 16:55
Emily said: 'I arrived yesterday at 4pm for the third
fastest selling single tom petty and the heartbreakers
of the new big boy band One Direction Tickets available.
Causing the star a fake backstage pass. He told TOTP magazine:" We just didn't want there to be way out of exposé-style documentaries that uncover the seedier side tom petty and the heartbreakers of the rotating antenna, because the caret is Latin for it. Well, that as many will claim they've sold their arms, or people who are enamored of a Failing Automatic Transmission Oil Pump.
Quote
 
 
Darklurkr23
0 #8 Darklurkr23 2013-06-06 18:54
I mean yea you know I didn't expect every skin pack, I mean MK9 didn't do that. I was expecting 4 guys and 4 free skins, which we've gotten. But it would've been nice to give us a Discount 50-75% at least on the new skin packs for season pass holders only.
Quote
 
 
Josh
-1 #7 Josh 2013-05-24 00:21
Guys I found out that it works! All you have to do is download the season pass, then go to the "in game" store (go to bonus features in the injustice main menu, and hit downloadable content, then go to buy/download content) once ur in the in game store, you will see that lobo and batgirl are 0 Microsoft points
Quote
 
 
Pwnstar7
0 #6 Pwnstar7 2013-05-18 18:59
The way I was told about the DLC was misinformation too. I was told there would be three character packs with four characters each, plus some skins to go with them. Now I get one Lobo and three more heroes sometime later. Needless to say I'm very disappointed. True it wasn't Netherrealm that told me I'd be getting 12 characters, but still, I've not seen gamestop tell people information THAT incorrect about Battlefield, Borderlands, or COD. :sad:
Quote
 
 
Christopher Jones
0 #5 Christopher Jones 2013-05-15 00:55
That's a good point about the people who bought the season pass at Gamestop, David. I'm sure that happened more than a few times. I wonder how many employees had no idea that wouldn't be the case.
Quote
 
 
David
0 #4 David 2013-05-14 22:21
Quoting xino:
some people are just too stupid!
it's like someone being scammed in a Nigerian 419 scam email, and months later you get scammed by it again. WTF?
Fighting games that are coming out gets a DLC included edition. Even MK did it, it had the GOTY edition with all DLC.

they would lose money if they did that, from what i am hearing of a second season pass and over 100 dlc skins and maybe levels they would lose money if they did that.
Quote
 
 
David
0 #3 David 2013-05-14 22:17
i bought the season pass, and there was no posters out or anthing out so i asked the clerk at Game Stop his exact words were all dlcs included. so i figured why the hell not. when i picked up the game and put the code onto the system the season pass explained what it was before i hit confirm. you know how everyone is in such a rush they dont like to read everthing unless its in a text message. i still used it. people are getting pissed off because the posters didnt spell it out for you? i should knock the guy out at game stop but im not. i dont see the point because i know like a kid in the arcade i am still plugging my quarters into the machine.
Quote
 
 
xino
0 #2 xino 2013-05-11 05:17
some people are just too stupid!
it's like someone being scammed in a Nigerian 419 scam email, and months later you get scammed by it again. WTF?
Fighting games that are coming out gets a DLC included edition. Even MK did it, it had the GOTY edition with all DLC.
Quote
 
 
bigevilworldwide
-1 #1 bigevilworldwide 2013-05-10 17:46
It was FAR from mis-advertised they clearly told you in the advertising that you got the 4 characters and that was it....It's not their fault some people are too stupid to either read, or ask whats included in the season pass...It maybe crappy but it was clearly stated
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh