After numerous complaints were submitted after No Man's Sky's launch in August, Advertising Standards Authority has launched an investigation into the game's advertising.
After years of building hype, No Man’s Sky launched last month to less-than-stellar reviews from both critics and gamers. In fact, disappointment was so significant that major retailers provided thousands of refunds for players who felt unsatisfied with their experience.
Unfortunately for Hello Games, it seems the backlash for No Man’s Sky isn’t quite finished yet. According to a report confirmed by Eurogamer, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), a UK-based advertising regulator, has launched an investigation into No Man’s Sky's marketing after numerous claims of false representation from gamers.
In the UK, the ASA has the power to investigate potential breaches of its code of conduct, and based on the results of an investigation, can impose sanctions on a company’s promotions. For instance, if the ASA determines No Man’s Sky did breach its code of conduct, the regulation organization could ask Internet search engines to remove paid-for search ads for the game.
At the moment, the ASA investigation is on-going, meaning the organization isn’t ready to reveal any details about the investigation, but thanks to a Reddit post from a disappointed gamer, there are a few things we know.
The ASA’s investigation is focused primarily on the No Man’s Sky Steam store page, which included assets that many believe misrepresented the game. The Reddit user calls out videos showing animal behavior, large-scale space combat, structures, and ship flying behavior, along with screenshots of creatures, ships, and structures as proof of the misrepresentation.
For years, No Man’s Sky was one of the most highly anticipated games for PlayStation 4 and PC. That excitement came crashing down when the space exploration game launched in August and players discovered the final release was missing key features discussed and promoted for months. Within a couple weeks of release, No Man’s Sky lost over 90 percent of its active players, and at one point, sales were outnumbered by that of refund requests from players.
That said, Hello Games is committed to improving the core game and providing new features in the future for free. Over time, players should start to see many of the features they were hoping for at launch. However, that doesn’t change the fact that Hello Games failed to provide clear and accurate information in its marketing for No Man’s Sky. As Sony’s boss said recently, the issue was primarily due to bad PR, a mistake Hello Games is likely to avoid in the future.
It’ll be interesting to see what the ASA decides for No Man’s Sky and Hello Games, and how it affects sales of the game in the future. If nothing else, this whole experience will serve as a cautionary tale for years to come of what happens if game developers don’t pay close attention to how they market upcoming games.
What do you think about the ASA’s investigation into No Man’s Sky?
No Man’s Sky is available now for PC and PlayStation 4.