A class action lawsuit accusing Sony of misleading consumers by claiming that the graphics in Killzone: Shadowfall are 1080p is allowed to proceed to court, a US District Judge has ruled.
Back in October, plaintiff Douglas Ladore brought the suit against the platform holder, which seeks $5m in damages over what he claims was the “deceptive marketing” used to promote the game.
“Sony claimed that the PS4 was so powerful that its featured Killzone video game could display ‘1080p’ multiplayer graphics, a crowning achievement in the video game industry,” the filings read. “However, after the game’s release, gamers quickly noticed and complained that Killzone‘s multiplayer graphics were blurry to the point of distraction. The cause of this blurriness went unknown until a well-respected video game website reported that Killzone‘s multiplayer did not actually provide ‘1080p’ graphics as advertised.”
Killzone: Shadow Fall’s single-player campaign does indeed run at native 1080p resolution, and found itself praised upon its release for being a showcase for the sheer power of Sony’s latest console. The multiplayer mode is a different story, however, rendering at 960×1080. A form of upscaling called “temporal reprojection” is then used to upscale the image to 1920×1080. Temporal reprojection “combines pixels and motion vectors from multiple lower-resolution frames to reconstruct a full 1080p image”, according to developer Guerilla Games.
Sony attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed back in October, stating that its claims about Killzone weren’t false, and that the game doesn’t fall under the remit of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Furthermore, they argued that the Economic Loss rule prevent Ladore from being able to claim negligent misrepresentation. The economic loss rule “preclude plaintiffs from recovering in tort for purely economic losses arising from sales of goods governed by UCC Article 2.”
However, earlier this week US District Judge Edward Chen dismissed Sony’s motion for dismissal, stating that the company’s arguments were “premised on an unduly narrow” reading of the original lawsuit. He went on to say that: “Either Sony’s arguments ignore important factual allegations that are well pleaded in Ladore’s complaint, or Sony’s arguments require this court to construe the complaint in the light most favourable to Sony, rather than Ladore, who is entitled to the benefit of all reasonable inferences at this stage of the proceedings.” (source).
While Chen admitted that Sony is correct in stating that Killzone‘s multiplayer does in fact output at 1080p, that’s not the allegation laid out in the lawsuit – which is instead that the multiplayer doesn’t render at native 1080p, thanks to the upscaling process described above – a process which Ladore claims led to the game’s visuals appearing “blurry” and “subpar”.
Chen did, however, uphold Sony’s argument regarding the Economic Loss Rule. Ladore now has 30 days to amend his original complaint to reflect the ruling. If he does, then the lawsuit will be one step closer to finally reaching court.
Nic Bunce reviewed Killzone: Shadow Fall for Continue Play, and while he was impressed by the visual spectacle on offer, he was less enamored with the actual gameplay and narrative. “Shadow Fall is a pretty average experience that never quite manages to rise above being simply a showcase for the PS4’s ability to push around a lot of rather gorgeous graphics,” he wrote in his review. “It starts out promisingly enough, only to fall flat on its face thanks to a number of glitches, uneven pacing and a regrettable late-game descent into running through endless identikit corridors.”
He finished by saying: “If Guerilla games set out to create a game which acts as a demonstration of what the PS4 is capable of, they succeeded. If they set out to create an engaging, innovative experience that will stand the test of time in years to come, then sadly the developer still has a long way to go,” before giving the game an “average” score of 5/10.