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Sony And Game Get A Telling Off Over 20th Anniversary PS4 Giveaway

Just don't do it again, alright?

The 20th anniversary PlayStation 4 was easily one of the most desirable bits of kit to be released in the last couple of year, combining the PS4’s already sleek design with a decidedly retro styling and that eternally desirable notion of limited availability. Only 12,300 of the consoles were ever made, meaning that demand was always going to outstrip supply.

In the US, it was all about getting online quick enough to buy, but in the UK there were a handful of somewhat farcical publicity stunts done to give them away. The PlayStation ’94 shop sold 94 of the consoles at £19.94, which saw people camping out overnight on Bethnal Green Road in London for the chance to get one. This was then followed up with a competition on Game to click on specific characters in a huge and iconic line up before anyone else.

Unfortunately, the process was inherently broken and led to six complaints being sent to the Advertising Standards Authority and an investigation into the matter. The answers had been uncovered ahead of time, so that some people could gain an unfair advantage to be within the first 100 entrants. While Sony actually handed out 112 consoles at each stage, rather than the promised 100, and Game excluded early entries.

Game admitted this meant some people had received multiple consoles and the ASA found that “although processes had been put in place to try to prevent consumers from purchasing more than one console, at least five consumers had been able to do so, against the promotion’s terms and conditions. We also understood that a link to the opportunity to purchase the console could be shared, which meant that neither Sony nor Game could tell whether consumers had accessed the link after having solved the clue, or having been sent the link. We considered that meant entrants who had attempted to enter by solving the clue were likely to have been disadvantaged and therefore unnecessarily disappointed.”

The ASA concluded that, “the promotion had caused unnecessary disappointment, we concluded that it had not been administered fairly, and therefore that it had breached the Code.”

Of course, all this means is that Sony and Game have been given a slap on the wrist and told to do better next time. I’d suggest that they stop running competitions with a time-based element to entries, and rather do a straight up prize draw.

Source: ASA, via Engadget

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  1. nouveller
    Since: Aug 2009

    Or just sell the damn thing…

    (not bitter)

    Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 13:51.
  2. JR.
    Since: Apr 2013

    This is still the best looking version of the console.

    It does surprise me though how an investigation could be launched after six (six…) complaints. They must not have much to do at the Advertising Standards Authority.

    In this case there was an issue with the system, yes, but I swear some people just live to complain. You win some, you loose some. Get over it.

    Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 14:07.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      If more people were predisposed to getting in touch with the authorities and regulatory bodies, then the bar would obviously be set much higher. And to be fair, just one complaint that could point to something that goes against the rules should be enough to get an investigation. It doesn’t take much to see that the UK giveaway was a complete and utter mess.

      Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 14:11.
      • JR.
        Since: Apr 2013

        I know what you’re saying but Sony/Game didn’t do this deliberately nor did they gain anything from it. In fact they gave away extra consoles as a result of this unforeseen error. The disappointed entrants were not affected financially. They didn’t loose anything but time. Something they are clearly in abundance of to make a complaint to the ASA.

        Did they try to contact Sony or Game first to vent their frustration? Did they demand or expect compensation which was declined? I can’t believe that someone would actually take (or have) the time to write to the ASA because some lowlife’s exploited a free to enter competition for a games console.

        You could argue that it’s a matter of principle but you can bet your life on it that these same six people wouldn’t have returned or complained about the competition had they actually won a console.

        Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 16:32.
    • spacedelete
      Since: Mar 2012

      some people are so rude. *you*. people complain then fools like you complain about people complaining. never mind ASA not having much to do. don’t you have better things to do than being a grumpy old grandpa threatening little kids with his walking stick ?

      Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 17:17.
      • JR.
        Since: Apr 2013

        Are you complaining about people complaining about people complaining again?

        Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 17:29.
      • Forrest_01
        Since: Jun 2009

        The hypocrisy is strong in this one.

        Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 18:45.
  3. wonkey-willy
    Since: Jan 2010

    ooooh i do love a good glitch!

    Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 16:10.
  4. Starman
    Since: Jul 2011

    Game are brilliant at cocking up simple things.

    Comment posted on 13/05/2015 at 17:12.
  5. MrJimmy
    Since: Forever

    I took the day off work, went to Bethnal green for about 7:30am and stood in the cold until 1130 to be told I could have a wrist band allowing me to queue for 1 of 50 the next day @ £400, but I’d have to stay intact queue all night as others did! All while watching local cab drivers cross the road and join the queue and get the first few for £19, these guys were not even fans, they just worked opposite the shop… So yes the process was very flawed,but so what? I’m not complaining, it was fun, creative and generous of Sony to try it. More please!

    Comment posted on 14/05/2015 at 08:20.
  6. MrJimmy
    Since: Forever

    Also, there is one in the Luton CEX for £1350 which is ridiculous, even though it is beautiful

    Comment posted on 14/05/2015 at 08:22.