The Better Business Bureau Says Yes, Mass Effect 3 Was Falsely Advertised

Fans upset with the outcome of Mass Effect 3 have been crying "false advertising" since the get go, arguing that the ability to "completely shape" their experience as promised by EA and BioWare never materialised. According to the Better Business Bureau's Majorie Stephens, they were right.

In a posting on the consumer protection organisation's Consumer News and Opinion Blog cloyingly titled "Mass Effect 3 is Having a ‘Mass Effect' on Its Consumers for Better or Worse", Stephens explains that technically yes, BioWare's marketing campaign for Mass Effect 3 does contain false advertising. It's a problem of absolutes, something that should be avoided at all cost in advertising circles.

The issue at stake here is, did Bio Ware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did. In the first bullet point, where it states "the decisions you make completely shape your experience", there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute.

Let's put this in context. If I were to tell you I make the very best lasagna in the entire world, that's an absolute. Worse, it's an absolute based on opinion, which would open me up even more. Is that false advertising? Yes, my lasagna sucks. It is, however, better a few days later with the addition of liberal amounts of shredded cheese.

Stephens also analyses the statement "Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilisations, and even radically different ending scenarios." It's a statement that could indicate that the previous statement wasn't quite true, but a consumer would have to dig deep to come to that conclusion.

The lesson to be learned here is companies should give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements. Otherwise, there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums.

If I ever form a game company, we're never saying anything. We'll just quietly slip our games under your door and run away.

Does this mean that BioWare is in some kind of trouble with the BBB? No, but its blogger agrees with the whole false advertising thing, which should make everyone feel a lot better about the whole thing.

"Mass Effect 3 is Having a ‘Mass Effect' on Its Consumers for Better or Worse" [Better Business Bureau Blog]


    Why are nerds so fussy! That's what games are these days... False advertising!

      Doesnt mean we have to lube up for it.

    Well, this is going to provide fuel for a thousand angry geek posts. At this rate, it's not going to be long until some kind of class action suit for peoples hurt feelings. -_-

      could be worse

    Its ok guys! Im sure theyve got some DLC in the works to fix this!

    Don't worry guys, EA will fix this... they just accuse the Better Business Bureau of being homophobes.

    It's funny how if you selectively quote something, it can change the meaning. For example, the rest of the paragraph in between the quotes you've used is:

    "This statement, really though, is very subject to interpretation. Also this is just a small example of their advertising and does not take into account anything that might have been said, as far as their public relations and other advertising campaigns."

    Kind of changes the jist of your article from "BBB kinda takes angry nerds side" to "BBB concedes that angry nerds are correct, if you're incredibly pedantic about it". I agree about their title, though - calling it "cloying" is being a bit generous.

      Thank you, sparhawk0, for your accurate and intelligent update.

      (this may sound sarcastic, but I don't intend it that way. Seriously, thanks)

    Christ, let it go already.


      The longer it continues the worse for the gaming industry it will be and that flow on effect will eventually hit the consumers.

      if you don't like it its simple, stop reading the articles. i guess its harder for the haters to let it go and not comment than the ones up in arms about it.

      i though it was an interesting read. enough said

    In before mega nerd rage

      I think you're about a month or so late.

    You know whats worse than the Mass Effect ragers? The people hating on the ragers.

      You mean the sane, non-basement-dwelling people tired of watching the explosion of entitled neckbearded angst every time the words MASS EFFECT appear on the internet? Get over it, princess.

        Oh classic, the people that disliked Mass Effect 3's ending are neckbearded angsty nerds, which is exactly what I was point out in my post. That rather than simply ignore the people who get upset when Mass Effect 3 is mentioned, we have obviously superior people who need to inform that that they need to grow up and get over it.

          No, I am not saying people who disliked the ending are neckbearded angsty nerds.I am saying that people who whinge ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON about how they disliked the ending and how it ruined their precious snowflake lives are neckbearded angsty nerds. It's an utterly disgusting display of a sense of entitlement oozing from spoiled middle class children.

            I'm getting so sick of this attitude that if you want anything other than world peace or to eliminate poverty you're an entitled spoiled brat with nothing but first world problems. Think about it for a second. Do you really want to live in a world where nobody cares about the small stuff? Imagine how terrible the world would be if we were limited to only getting passionate about the most important of issues.
            Even if you expand it to include personal things like friends, family and romance, how boring would the world be if you couldn't get passionate about sports, games, TV and other things that have no real value beyond entertainment? That's all we're seeing on the Mass Effect 3 front. Passionate fans who got burned an ending that was bad in almost every possible sense (lets face it, if your fans are demanding the cop-out dream sequence ending you've done something terribly wrong).
            They're not dedicating their entire lives to this stuff, in fact they're putting in about the minimum effort you can with a cause (if all I did was comment negatively when someone else brought up pollution I don't think you'd call me an environmentalist). If you don't want to hear it then it's incredibly easy to avoid.

              Also just to point it out, there's not exactly a heap of people here going 'damn straight' in response to the article, but there are a ton of people here going 'screw those raging bastards'.

              I think it is fairly obvious that no one is making fun of people for simply complaining about the ending to a video game. It is the extent to the complaints, the complete and unadulterated passion of hate for the ending. Declaring you will never buy another Bioware game, the spamming of every game related forum, the polls, complaining to the FDA, the attempted emotional blackmail by using a charity and the cuphates (see what I did there? I merged the word cupcake and hate *selfpat) that indicate that these people need a reality check. These people aren’t dedicating their whole lives, but a far larger amount of their lives than they probably should and must live very sheltered lives if this is the biggest thing on their mind. If that’s not a spoilt brat, then I don’t know what is.

                So instead you would prefer that people self-censor themselves to the point of polite indignation? In the same way that a dysfunctional workplace never solves any of its problems by having quiet obedient slaves? The haters here CONTINUALLY imply that anybody upset about anything trivial here is a basement-dwelling loser, when the ones who actually do fit that profile are a rampant minority. It doesn't take the entire Mass Effect 3 consumer-base to start a petition or send cupcakes, but by golly you'll still hear about it because it's way more interesting news than "Reasonable amount of Mass Effect fans are objectively critical."

                First World Problems are still problems. Yes they pale in comparison to big deal stuff but that doesn't change that it upsets us and remain unresolved until we do something about it. You need to understand frame of mind and cultural perspective. We can objectively understand that our problems are trivial in comparison to say, poverty in Africa but if you constantly downplay small problems in comparison to those then you'd become a shambling mess that can get nothing done because hey, even job loss and family breakups are nothing like what those starving kids have to deal with!

                Also in the use of the term "entitled" around here: I frequent a website that is renowned for its unbridled scum of a user-base (yes you know the one) and the mods there go to the trouble to 'wordfilter' terms they realise the community is using too erroneously just to get the message across that it's dumb to throw such words around. Really should such a place represent a structure Kotaku can't even compete with now?

      The only people worse than the haters of the haters are the haters of the haters of the haters!

    "the decisions you make completely shape your experience"

    sorry, last time i checked, experience didn't mean ending.

      Oh you sir should get all the internet cookies. I thought the same thing when I took a look at that quote. I found that the decisions I made over the three games (the last in particular) did in fact SHAPE MY EXPERIENCE.

      Well said mate.

        but you are only selectively looking at only part of the experience. what is the ending to you then? conclusion? a chore? it in itself is a separate experience where all the choices from 1, 2 and 3 shaped the final definitive outcome for the game. yes choices changed the experience in most of the game but was not carried through. you can fain interest in the comment and completely railroad me but the ending is a vital aspect of any story summing up key storylines and creating the different ending that should have been. yet we got a convoluted, dissected and divergent ending that directly counteracts the effects out experience has

          Don't know what you mean by I am only "looking at only part of the experience". I think you just railroaded your self there. Yes, the ending is one part (a part that was not really shaped by what you did admittedly). The ending for me was a conclusion. The ending is vital. It sums up the experience but it is not the "sum of its parts". I will not argue with you on the plot holes etc. There are a number of those which I have stated a few times here on this site. But I really do feel that the ruling that was passed in the above article is wrong.

          All the choices I made in the other 2 games and the ones made in 3 shaped my experience with this game. The ending is the ending. People have problems with it. Hey, no problem. But the issue here is the "false advertising" claim. That is not true. You could dictate what happened to Mordin, Miranda, the Queen, Tali, the Geth etc etc.

          I agree with your point on the ending being a mess. Just not the point of this ruling.

    100+ hours of total gameplay wrecked by a 10 minute ending....christ. Let it go people. Clarification is coming and that is that. It was their story to write. It is how they wanted it to end.

    Let it go....let it go. The media needs to let this crap go as well. The story is told.

    End of line...

    Aaaaaaaaand yet again i have to leave this here

    This is all a bit over the top. Like the old saying goes, "Only in America..."

    I don't see how those statements are false. Your decisions DO shape your experience. The ending SCENARIOS were different, even if they were visually similar.

    I do not think this assessment is accurate.

      They used the words 'completely shaped', which as the article explains, is an absolute.

      But really...who cares at this point?

    he obviously played the series too...

    Three words:


      Is that such a bad thing?? If I'm paying my $80 a game, DLC and putting time away to play it.. Yeah everyone who does that is entitled to feel a certain way.. And if it so happens that countless thousands and thousands *may be closure to ahundred thousand etc* feel the say way, have had the same effect from something... Then I'd say it's not THEIR issue to themselves...

      First world problems, yep! I live in the first world so that's what I generally have ;)

      *cough coughHipstercough, cough cough. :)
      All jokes aside, I feel the way that some people are OVER REACTING to the ending is just plain stupid. But I think wisdom comes with age.....and I am not seeing a lot of wisdom regarding this matter from the player base. Take from that as you will.

      Hate me, I don't care, but you folks need to "grow a quad".

    *finds it funny that majority of commenters are the haters wanting this to end when clearly they could just not read the article*

    who is entitled now? if you all don't care why comment? if you all moved on to other games why do you care if the ending changes? atleast the people supporting the change are passionate about a hobby. all you people are passionate about is hating on others.

    its a sad sad day my friends

    Wtf, this is like America invading North Korea, finding that they have developed nuclear weapons, then leaving without doing anything about it, and going 'yes, they have nuclear weapons'. Why bother.

    I am a nerd and gamer.... but all this carryon about how some players don't like someone else's art is making me embarrassed to be a gamer.
    Build a bridge, get over it.

    There was less of a fuss made about the end of The Sapranos, talk about whining little crybabies.

    The real funny side is that for years angry nerds have been begging George Lucas to undo his changes to movies we love, and now they are fighting to change the game we love.

    (for the younglings that never saw it befor Lucas started revising it... Han shot first)

    $350+ plus 200+ hours of gaming plus illogical choice free piss poor depressing dream sequence ending = MASSIVE RAGE.

    What the hell did they expect?! This isn't MADDEN 2015 or HALO 5, this is a rapidly expanding amazingly detailed multi-format media with passionate fans!

      Forgot to add. We also spent 5 years as fans!

    I enjoy replaying the mass effect games to make diferent decisions, enjoy the story, get my moneys worth, play a diferent class etc, but my god, that ending killed all of that in 10 mins. So much time dedicated to such an amazing story. It's really quite a kick in the teeth to not be able to play the game ever again, because i know that god awful ending will always be the reward at the end.

    To clarify, I'm not a raging nerd, i'm just a genuinely disapointed fan. It won't change my life, but it kinda sucks all the same. Imagine if Marty had just faded out of existence at the end of Back To The Future instead of getting his parents Back together. Roll Credits.

    I was one of the "who the hell cares" crowd until I actually played the ending. It really was shit. And after 3 fantastic games that react to the decisions you make, to be subjected to such a godawful artsy-fartsy mess of an ending was really disappointing. I'm convinced that the people telling the ending-haters to shut up, haven't actually played it.

    Am I entitled to a good ending that provides me closure and satisfaction? You're damn right I am, I spent over 200 dollars on these games. The least the creators could do is make sure my Shepard has a justifiably epic ending - give him a badass death fighting impossible odds, saving the last remnant of life in the galaxy. By all means make the ending bleak and tragic, just don't give him a stupid binary choice that has almost exactly the same outcome either way. Don't trivialize the emotional investment people have put into Shepard as a character.

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