After a rather controversial launch for No Man’s Sky, things don’t seem to be getting easier anytime soon. The game promised some of the most innovative and engaging gaming content of this generation. And no one seems to be disagreeing with the idea that Hello Games failed to deliver on the hype. Sure, hype machines have a dangerous tendency to create overblown expectations; but the UK-based ASA [Advertising Standards Agency] felt compelled by user reports to investigate the issue.
The ASA is specifically looking into the marketing campaign for the title, not any other unrelated aspects of production.
One of the complainants posted an update they had received from the ASA on the game’s Reddit and shines a light on what exactly the ASA is investigating. What follows is a quote from the Reddit post:
In the ASA response, they say that both Hello Games and Valve have a joint responsibility, and so both organisations have now been contacted by the ASA and have been told to respond to the following issues which the ASA picked out as the primary issues (compiled from a number of complainants that contacted the ASA).
The Redditor also mentions that he doesn’t want to “punish” Hello Games for No Man’s Sky, noting that he wants them taken to task over their promotional campaign, saying that they feel that the “game’s marketing needs to be brought down to earth a bit more”.
It’s rather obvious why this is occurring, the bevy of undelivered promises from animals, structures and features that are conspicuously absent from the released version; all the way down to lies told by the games promoters to the press.
Even though the ASA is focusing on the Steam Store page above all else, they did mention that they “will ensure the advertisers are made aware of any points relating to other marketing material under their control (such as the Hello Games YouTube channel and website)”. The ASA also said that “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”. This may very well set a precedent for how advertisers and developers can market games in the future.