The drama around No Man’s Sky and its promotion continues today, with the game’s advertising being investigated by the Advertising Standards Agency.
The ASA regulates all media advertising in the United Kingdom, as well as online marketing for websites. And given how adamant gamers were about refunding the game and making this displeasure known to the developers and everyone else, it was inevitable that someone would complain to the regulator as well.
In a post on Reddit a couple of days ago, a user posted that they had “received a response” from the agency surrounding No Man’s Sky marketing. Earlier this morning, Eurogamer reported that the ASA has confirmed they are investigating the game’s marketing, putting questions to Hello Games and Valve over the way it was advertised on the Steam store.
Both Hello Games and Valve have been asked to respond on a number of questions, around features that were shown or mentioned on the No Man’s Sky store page that were not present in the game at launch. Those include:
- 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)
- Quality of graphics
- References to: lack of loading screens, trade convoys between stars, factions vying over territory
The No Man’s Sky trailer from E3 2014, which is the first video listed on the game’s Steam page at the time of writing.
The interesting element is that any ruling the ASA makes will apply to the game’s advertising elsewhere, including listings on the PlayStation Store, YouTube, and potentially the Xbox Store should the game be released there. Any ads or promotional material deemed misleading or in contravention of the regulator’s standing practices can be taken down, which would also prevent their use in the future — so it might be worth preserving some of that old footage.
It comes after Sony head Shuhei Yoshida said that he understood the complaints against No Man’s Sky and that Sean Murray “didn’t have a PR person helping him”. “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,” the Sony Worldwide Studios president added.