Proving the theory that anyone will sue anyone for anything, a legal firm filed a class-action lawsuit for $5 million against Sony yesterday because the multiplayer mode in PS4 game Killzone: Shadowfall doesn't run at a "native" resolution of 1080p.
Yep, this is for real. The suit, which you can read below, alleges that Sony misled gamers with the newest Killzone by using technology to replicate high-resolution graphics instead of actually providing them.
To quote the suit:
2. According to Sony, Killzone was a graphically striking game set in a dystopian future that took full advantage of the PS4's advanced processing power. 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.
3. 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.
4. Following this discovery, Sony released an official statement on the matter. In it, Sony admitted that it did not in fact design Killzone to display multiplayer graphics in 1080p, but instead used a technological shortcut that was supposed to provide "subjectively similar" results.
In March, Killzone developers Guerilla Games described how they used what they called "temporal reprojection" to make their game 1080p:
In both SP and MP, KILLZONE SHADOW FALL outputs a full, unscaled 1080p image at up to 60 FPS. Native is often used to indicate images that are not scaled; it is native by that definition.
In Multiplayer mode, however, we use a technique called "temporal reprojection," which combines pixels and motion vectors from multiple lower-resolution frames to reconstruct a full 1080p image. If native means that every part of the pipeline is 1080p then this technique is not native.
Games often employ different resolutions in different parts of their rendering pipeline. Most games render particles and ambient occlusion at a lower resolution, while some games even do all lighting at a lower resolution. This is generally still called native 1080p. The technique used in KILLZONE SHADOW FALL goes further and reconstructs half of the pixels from past frames.
Edelson LLC has also filed class-action suits against Sega/Gearbox for Aliens: Colonial Marines, against Zynga for sharing data with advertisers, and against EA for breaking promises with Battlefield 3.
"Temporal reprojection is 'not native' 1080p," alleges the suit. "Rather, and by Sony's account, it is just another form of interpolation... Sony has not added any disclosure to the game's packaging regarding temporal reprojection, does not mention 22temporal reprojection anywhere on the ShadowFall Killzone.com website, and has not altered the game's consumer-facing technical specifications."
The lawsuit argues that the box for Killzone is consequently misleading to customers:
This part's pretty fun, too, describing the ordeal of plaintiff Douglas Ladore:
49. On or about May 3, 2014, Plaintiff Ladore purchased Killzone for $49.99 from a local Best Buy.
50. Before deciding to purchase Killzone, Plaintiff visited several websites that contained the representations disseminated by Sony—i.e., that Killzone would provide native "1080p" multiplayer graphics.
51. Relying on those reports, Plaintiff chose to purchase the Killzone video game using Best Buy's "free store pickup" service. Thus, Plaintiff reserved a copy of Killzone on Best Buy's website and traveled to a local Best Buy store to complete his purchase.
52. Before completing his purchase, and while still at his local Best Buy retail store, Plaintiff examined the Killzone retail packaging and confirmed that Killzone would deliver an unrestricted 1080p graphics resolution. The relevant part of that packaging was identical to that shown in Figure 1 above. Relying on that on-box representation—which echoed the reports he had read online—Plaintiff completed his purchase and took his copy of Killzone home.
53. Plaintiff Ladore relied on Sony's on-box representation that Killzone would deliver 1080p graphics resolution. Because Plaintiff owns a television capable of rendering a 1080p resolution, Plaintiff's television was capable of rendering Killzone's graphics (in both single and multiplayer modes) at a 1080p resolution.
54. After opening Killzone's packaging (thus rendering the game un-returnable) and playing the game, Plaintiff realized that the game's multiplayer graphics were not the "1080p" graphics that Sony advertised. Instead, Plaintiff noticed that Killzone's multiplayer graphics were blurry and did not appear to be rendering at a native 1080p resolution.
55. Had Plaintiff known that Killzone's multiplayer mode was not running at a graphics resolution of 1080p, he would have not have purchased Killzone at all, or would have paid substantially less for it.
We've reached out to Sony for comment and will update should they respond. You can read the full lawsuit here: