The controversial launch of Hello Games' No Man's Sky has left many wondering what happened during the development of the Sony-backed indie game. The game was in many ways completely different from what the trailers showed, and features that were promised did not make it into the retail version of the game. While the expectations were heightened by players hyping each other up, there's more than enough evidence showing that Hello Games did not end up delivering the product that they promised.
Because of this, several players filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (confirmed by Eurogamer), an independent UK-based regulator that acts as a sort of watchdog against false or misleading advertising. These complaints prompted the ASA to start an investigation into Hello Games' promotional campaign for No Man's Sky.
One of the complainants posted an update they had received from the ASA on the game's Reddit and shines a light on what exactly the ASA is investigating. What follows is a quote from the Reddit post:
In the ASA response, they say that both Hello Games and Valve have a joint responsibility, and so both organisations have now been contacted by the ASA and have been told to respond to the following issues which the ASA picked out as the primary issues (compiled from a number of complainants that contacted the ASA).The Redditor also mentions that he doesn't want to "punish" Hello Games for No Man's Sky, noting that he wants them taken to task over their promotional campaign, saying that they feel that the "game's marketing needs to be brought down to earth a bit more".
The list of received complaints deals mostly with how the game is advertised on the Steam Store. Currently, the Steam Store page features videos showing off a variety of features that are not available in the released version of the game including a different UI, the way your ship moves and handles, animal behavior that didn't make it into the released product and the absence of large space battles,amongst others.
Screenshots showing off enormous animals that can't be found in the released version are also mentioned on the list, as are some buildings and structures that are conspicuously absent from the game. The graphical fidelity of the retail release is also completely different in the released game.
While the ASA is focusing on the Steam Store page above all else, they did mention that they "will ensure the advertisers are made aware of any points relating to other marketing material under their control (such as the Hello Games YouTube channel and website)". The ASA also said that "the outcomes of ASA investigations are cross-applicable to other marketing making the same claims, so any decision reached in relation to the Steam page would apply to other advertising for No Man’s Sky where the same (or materially similar) claims appear". This could end up setting a precedent for how companies are allowed to advertise their games on online storefronts, which would ultimately make gaming better for the consumer.
Because we're still at the start of the investigation there's bound to be more information coming out of it before long. We've reached out to the ASA, Hello Games, Valve and Sony. To be continued!
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