No Man's Sky Was Never a Con
It's been almost three years since the controversial, frustrating, and ultimately disappointing launch of No Man's Sky. The pre-release hype and the mind-blowing trailers had generated an incredible amount of curiosity and excitement. No Man's Sky was one of those rare games that broke out of the bubble around gaming culture and grabbed the attention of people who typically don't take an interest in video games.
Lead developer Sean Murray had been talking about the game in public for over a year, showing off trailers and making various promises. At one point he even appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he infamously claimed that the game would have multiplayer but the odds of meeting another person would be really low. Once the game came out, all the hype turned to outrage as players realized that what they actually bought was very different from what the trailers were selling. Hello Games was investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority for possibly misleading consumers. The team was ultimately exonerated, but the fact that there was an investigation at all showed that this controversy rose above the standard level of gamer disappointment and complaining about bullshots.
A con implies you're putting out something shoddy intentionally with the plan of taking the money and running, as opposed to, you know, just failing to do what you set out to do and sometimes making a shoddy project that way.
No Man's Sky, or Hell, Star Citizen, had too much work put into them to be considered Con Jobs and I don't doubt they want to make the best product they can. Rather, the scope/feature creep and over-promising is their main sins. I fully expect Star Citizen to crash and burn at some point, mostly because it can never live up to the hype and expectations its made for itself at this point. I still wouldn't call it a con.