The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Agency is apparently investigating No Man’s Sky for misleading ads, especially promotional material – including both videos and screenshots – that were used leading up to the game’s release on both PC and PS4.
Various outlets have picked up the news from a Reddit post made by user AzzerUK who contacted the ASA about No Man’s Sky, stating that the game did not live up to the standards for which it had been advertised and promoted on the Steam store, in interviews, in trailers and in general by Hello Games.
The ASA responded to AzzerUK informing him that they are investigating No Man’s Sky to see if the game lives up to what was advertised in the screenshots, the videos, the interviews and what was promoted through websites and their previews, such as the ones posted up by IGN… specifically the ones posted up by IGN.
The ASA is serious when they investigate and they previously had EA removed ads for Dungeon Keeper due to the ads being misleading. They don’t play around.
Technically they could have the ads, screenshots and promotional material for No Man’s Sky scrubbed from being displayed in the U.K., if they deem the content misleading.
What’s interesting is the list of comparisons they want to make between the promo content and the actual game. As posted on Reddit, the list is below.
- User interface design
- Ship flying behaviour (in formation; with a ‘wingman’; flying close to the ground)
- Behaviour of animals (in herds; destroying scenery; in water; reacting to surroundings)
- Large-scale space combat
- Structures and buildings as pictured
- Flowing water
- Speed of galaxy warp/loading time
- Aiming systems
- Size of creatures (9)
- Behaviour of ships and sentinels (4, 5 and 8)
- Structures and buildings as pictured (3)
Store Page in general:
- Quality of graphics
- References to: lack of loading screens, trade convoys between stars, factions vying over territory
That’s not even to mention the claims about No Man’s Sky having multiplayer, which turns out doesn’t actually exist in the current iteration of the game.
According to AzzerUK, the ASA informed wrote 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 means that if the content is deemed misleading in the U.K., and changes would have to be made to the digital storefronts selling the game, then it would apply retroactively to all the storefronts.
This probably explains why Hello Games have been neck-deep in patchwork at the moment and staying eerily silent, because if the comparisons are made and No Man’s Sky isn’t up to scratch to what they’ve been promoting… well, advertising for No Man’s Sky will be exiled into no man’s land.