British agency Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has started an investigation into No Man’s Sky and its alleged misleading advertising campaigns. The company explained to Eurogamer that the investigation is focused upon the Steam store page for the title. ASA received “several complaints” about the advertising for No Man’s Sky, which prompted them to look into the matter. They have contacted both developer Hello Games and Valve, the company behind Steam, to respond to a series of questions about the game’s advertising.
According to one Redditor who did file a complaint with the ASA, the company is asking about the following in the advertising campaigns:
- 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
Even though the ASA’s investigation is currently with Steam due to the Steam-specific complaints, any ruling they make would cross over to all advertising for the game, including YouTube videos and the PlayStation Store.
The Redditor who posted the ASA’s response to him told Eurogamer that he doesn’t seek a refund, but he wants Steam to be aware they need to not allow developers to mislead customers.
The marketing of the game was very different to the end game. The end game is a shallow screenshot generator, and in some ways it reminded me of Spore.
I figured that if we want Steam store pages for games to start falling in-line and stop misleading consumers, then it would take consumers to point these problems out to the ASA, rather than all sit around on Reddit complaining to each other but assuming that it’ll all get sorted by itself eventually.
He reiterated this sentiment on his Reddit post.
At this point I’m vaguely hopeful it’ll make Steam a bit more interested in keeping OTHER big releases “honest” in their marketing in future – if they KEEP having games with marketing that even they ASA agrees to be “misleading”, they could end up in serious trouble (it would require consumers to keep complaining when they find such blatant instances though!) – so there’s potential… slim I’ll admit… but potential for us, as consumers, to end up with more games having to show us the REAL footage on the store pages.
It will take serious time before the ASA will make any ground, much less announce any rulings, but we will keep our eyes and ears out for any additional info on this investigation.