The Advertising Standards Authority, an independent U.K.-based advertising regulator, has launched an investigation of Hello Games and its game No Man’s Sky to determine if the firm’s marketing misrepresented the final product.
On the No Man’s Sky subreddit, a user posted details of the response they claim to have received from the Advertising Standards Agency after filing a complaint. The ASA has apparently heard “a number of complaints” leading up to its decision to open the investigation, and that Valve — the company behind the massively popular online storefront Steam — could also be held responsible.
Game features that the ASA says may have been misrepresented include the game’s UI, animal behavior, “large-scale space combat,” water behavior, speed of loading times, and “aiming systems.”
The statement also includes potentially misleading “facts” that are currently available on the game’s Steam page, including the assertion that the game doesn’t have loading times, that factions “vie for territory,” and that trade convoys “travel between stars.” The ASA also believes that the screenshots available on the page may not be representative of the final product.
“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,” the organization reportedly told the user.
Though the ASA is an organization independent of both the advertising industry and the government, it has the power to pull down ads that are found to be in violation of its advertising codes, and it has “a range of effective sanctions” available if advertisers do not comply.
No Man’s Sky launched for PlayStation 4 and PC back in August to a lukewarm reception. In our review, we said its beautiful facade quickly fades to a “dull repetitive sandbox,” and that the game will leave you unsatisfied after a short amount of time, in spite of its “incredible” scale. PlayStation executive Shuhei Yoshida was frank about the game’s launch during the Tokyo Game Show, saying Hello Games “promis[ed] more features in the game” than were actually delivered.