‘No Man’s Sky’ Is Being Investigated For False Advertising

The saga ambitious space-survival game No Man’s Sky is slowly turning out to be Hello Games’ nightmare. After the conundrum about the refunds, the broken game experience, and broken promises made it worse. Advertising Standards Agency, U.K.’s independent regulator for advertising and marketing on the web, is investigating the digital distributor, Valve Software, and Hello Games for false advertising of No Man’s Sky, reports Eurogamer.

A Reddit user named AzzerUK posted about receiving the response from ASA about misleading and misrepresenting information as well as multimedia on the Steam page of No Man’s Sky.

He clarified of not being mad at No Man’s Sky, Hello Games, and Steam. However, he felt like contacting the ASA “after seeing just how vastly different the trailers for No Man’s Sky were from the actual released game.”

He further added of feeling misled by the promotional multimedia being very distinct from the actual game. The ASA confirmed of receiving several complaints regarding the game’s advertisements and pulled both Hello Games and Valve under scrutiny. A bevy of early buyers of No Man’s Sky has a gripe against screenshots and videos on Steam showing different gameplay compared to the launched version of the game. Not only that, even the game’s graphical quality depicted in the screenshots raised questions.

“We 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 stated that any ruling following the complaints would apply to the YouTube videos as well as its PlayStation Store listing.

“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.”

A Steam Community forum thread had the early buyers getting into a heated discussion about being misled by the game description and the trailers. Some contested that by stating that Steam simply grabbed and pasted the sales material from Hello Games.

The matter escalated so quickly that a massive Reddit thread about the missing promised features was started. The thread was deleted later but found its way to a website cheekily named One Man’s Lie, targeting Hello Games founder Sean Murray. The post gives an exhaustive account of promised features and enhancements before the game launch. That had riled up many fans who had been eagerly waiting for the game’s arrival and jumped the gun to purchase it for $59.99. Also, the refund conundrum also added some fuel to the fire.

No Man’s Sky hit the Steam digital store for PC users in August, but not many were happy due to the bugs which led to game crashes. All hell broke lose when users with over 20 hours of gameplay could snag refund from Steam, or other avenues. That resulted in the mad rush for refunds from Steam, PlayStation Store, and Amazon.

No Man's Sky is being investigated for false advertising
Gamers complained about the difference in graphics quality of screenshots on Steam page and the No Man's Sky game [Image via Hello Games]

Later all the digital stores reinstated their standard refund policies, reported the Inquisitr. Hence, only those who were unable to play the game or managed less than two hours of gameplay in less than 14 days got the refund.

Sony’s Worldwide Studios boss, Shuhei Yoshida, also criticized the Public Relations strategy of Hello Games, according to VG247‘s reports.

“I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one.”

Despite initial heat, No Man’s Sky has been admired and enjoyed by many. A modder named Robert Prest managed to create a mod called No Guy’s Sky by mashing up No Man’s Sky in Doom, reported Geek. Before that, The Verge reported about the mashup of Super Mario Bros. with No Man’s Sky resulting into No Mario’s Sky.

For now, Hello Games is standing through the lashings and has put up a blog post explaining their plan to sort the issues for now. Also, a bunch of patches for the PC and PS4 version of No Man’s Sky are available. So far, there’s no word on when the first game content package will land.

The promotional materials of No Man’s Sky are under scrutiny with the ASA. While the investigation is in progress, the final ruling would impact the U.K. region. However, it might push the U.S.-based gamers to raise a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission against the game and its developers.

[Featured Image by Hello Games]