Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky has been under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority, which is the UK’s advertising regulator, after the game’s Steam page received 23 complaints. Players complained that the game’s content wasn’t depicted accurately and said that the advertisements had been misleading. That’s all done with now, as the regulator ruled that the game’s Steam page, and the advertisements within, were fair and that the complaints were not upheld.
Here’s the opening and closing statements in the Advertising Standards Authority’s assessment, since they give a good overview of the case and explain why everything was ruled as being fair:
The ad contained several screenshots and two different video trailers for the game, as well as a text description. We understood that, as NMS was procedurally generated, player experiences would vary according to what material was generated in their play-through. The summary description of the game made clear that it was procedurally generated, that the game universe was essentially infinite, and that the core premise was exploration. As such, we considered consumers would understand the images and videos to be representative of the type of content they would encounter during gameplay, but would not generally expect to see those specific creatures, landscapes, battles and structures. We therefore considered whether the game and footage provided by Hello Games contained gameplay material of a sufficiently similar type to that depicted in the ad.
We understood that the screenshots and videos in the ad had been created using game footage, and acknowledged that in doing this the advertisers would aim to show the product in the best light. Taking into account the above points, we considered that the overall impression of the ad was consistent with gameplay and the footage provided, both in terms of that captured by Hello Games and by third parties, and that it did not exaggerate the expected player experience of the game. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
It’s definitely worth your time to read the full assessment over at the ASA’s website, so give that a thorough look before commenting below. It’s clear that both the team at Hello Games, and the advertising regulator both spent quite some time examining the complaints from players that felt they had been wronged. Such a legal hassle can certainly be distracting, especially for a small developer, so it certainly didn’t help the developer update the game in a timely manner. Thankfully now that it’s over, the team can focus fully on making the game better, which they’ve already done with their Foundation Update that released last week.