No Man's Sky Under Investigation Over Claims of Misleading Advertising

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No Man's Sky Under Investigation Over Claims of Misleading Advertising

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"Several complaints" have prompted the UK's Advertising Standards Authority to launch an investigation into potentially misleading advertising for No Man's Sky.

A representative for the UK's Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed to Eurogamer that the organization has launched an investigation into Hello Games' No Man's Sky after receiving "several complaints" that advertisements for the game were misleading. The investigation appears to be focused primarily on the Steam page for No Man's Sky. The ASA declined to comment further than the confirmation that an investigation is taking place and that both Hello Games and Valve have been contacted.

Over on Reddit yesterday one poster claimed to have received a response from the ASA, which include complaints around videos and screenshots. According to the poster, the complaints include videos and screenshots, with specifics ranging from ship flying behavior and combat to the size and behavior of animals and creatures, along with the quality of graphics.

You can check out the list of complaints, as provided, below:

Videos:
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

Screenshots:
Size of creatures (9)
Behaviour of ships and sentinels (4, 5 and 8)
Structures and buildings as pictured (3)

Store Page in general:
Quality of graphics
References to: lack of loading screens, trade convoys between stars, factions vying over territory

As of the time of this posting, No Man's Sky has "Mostly Negative" overall reviews on Steam, and "Overwhelmingly Negative" recent reviews.

We will update this post with any new information.

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A part of me is happy about this. Mainly cause it'll teach Sean Murray to think before he opens his mouth again.

This would have to be pretty blatant to make me feel that the claim is valid. I've played games that didn't have things that I saw in screenshots. I've watched movies that cut scenes that were in previews. I'm like 90% certain I've seen things on the back of boxes that weren't in the finished product.

To claim this as false advertising, you'd have to prove that they made claims that were outright false. And No Man's Sky is found to have misled with its advertising, Fable should have had such claims investigated as well.

Shouldn't be a long investigation. Look at the video on the Steam Store page, play the game for 10 minutes. Done.

"Several complaints" usually means 'barely anyone'.

I don't think it'll go anywhere, but the fact that the issue's formally raised should be a reminder to the industry in general that it should really stop bullshitting with its marketing. Showing off slightly fancier visuals doesn't really matter, but when gameplay features aren't in what's been already shown? Sometimes changes are understandable, sure, but the PR machines need to be more careful when features in an interactive piece of entertainment aren't in the final product.

Also, y'know, as has been said a thousand and one times; people like Murray need to just shut their traps to avoid digging themselves, their company, and their own IP's into PR [black-]holes they can't extract themselves from.

Murray should have sticked with the time tested Artistic Integrity defense, instead of silence.

This will be interesting to follow. How will the ASA investigate these complains about the game content when the game content is randomly generated? Will they have the source code analyzed? Will they even bother to try that?

You just don't lie to Colbert and get away with it!

Oh come on, man, this is ridiculous. Yes, they lied, but everyone with half a brain should have been able to see this from miles away. There is a very easy solution to this kind of situation. Never pre-order (what's the point of pre-ordering digital games anyway?!). Just have patience for one week and see the user reviews. It's so simple.

I hope they get nailed for it, as that would open the flood gates for a class action suit that could really serve as a warning the rest of the industry has been in desperate need of.

But, as usual, probably won't go anywhere. Tis a shame that it all feels so futile these days.

Considering the huge number of refunds they already gave on the game, this is going to be hard for them to defend. They only avoided a huge outcry (louder then it already was), because so many refunds where given without any hassle.

Sony would give a digital refund instantly for instance, within minutes. Steam even gave some outside of the normal 2 hour restriction, and stores like Best buy allowed returns even after the game was opened.

I'm sure the returns have settled down now, but in the first month it was happening constantly. Those who didn't bother to return the game, or played only a few hours a week and took longer to be dissatisfied are probably the ones left complaining now.

To many it wasn't false advertising that was the problem, but that they released a broken game. It wasn't broken for everyone, but many could not even play it due to constant crashing, and worse, initially those crashes could corrupt the save file. You could play just fine for 10-30 hours and then while warping suddenly your game was gone. Things like that should be discovered and fixed before release OR customers deserve to get a refund for being sold such a defective product. Some errors, bugs etc might be hard to find, but when you have over 20% of your customer base constantly crashing, there is no way that could not have been found and fixed before release.

CaitSeith:
This will be interesting to follow. How will the ASA investigate these complains about the game content when the game content is randomly generated? Will they have the source code analyzed? Will they even bother to try that?

Even a game with randomly generated content has some set things that never change - or have you ever played a game that was a singleplayer fantasy RPG the first time, then restarted and then had a steampunk cart racer that requires 3 players to even get something going?

Here, for example, the general behaviour of NPCs or the supposed equipment can be still controlled. The only point that I don't think needs to be tested would be the UI - that thing can change very late and very easily in a game compared to the previews.

There is a god...

& Yeah, it's blatant false advertising. I heard nothing of the game prior to the store page 3-4 days before release, day 1 - 1 hour before release I caved and bought it because the TRAILER on the store page was convincing, figured if it looked like that; if space combat was that fluid /ect ect rant rant - - I'd love it. Yeah... no.

Wasn't Sony responsible for the game's advertising?

Why aren't they getting any of the blame for this? They certainly deserve their fair share.

fallte:
Oh come on, man, this is ridiculous. Yes, they lied, but everyone with half a brain should have been able to see this from miles away. There is a very easy solution to this kind of situation. Never pre-order (what's the point of pre-ordering digital games anyway?!). Just have patience for one week and see the user reviews. It's so simple.

Or the a-holes trying to get away with this sort of thing should actually have some sort of consequences on their shoulders. Not everything falls squarely on the consumer.

Also for the record I did not purchase the game so I've got no personal vestment in seeing Sean Murray and Hello Games burn, regardless how satisfying that may be.

SlumlordThanatos:
Wasn't Sony responsible for the game's advertising?

Why aren't they getting any of the blame for this? They certainly deserve their fair share.

Because they weren't the ones going on talk shows saying thay certain features will be in the game or even supplying the videos that were advertised.

That's just my guess.

I ended up not getting the game (let alone pre-ordering it), so perhaps I'm just not feeling the appropriate level of chest-thumping indignation. But I don't really feel that crucifying Hello Games is going to do a lot of good. Yes, the game was apparently overhyped versus the features the final product ended up actually providing, but I think the commercial and critical shellacking they're taking over it is probably punishment enough. I'd much rather that they spent the next few months working on patches that tried to bring the game closer to its promise, rather than fighting another lawsuit.

This isn't EA or Activision or Ubisoft. If this case is successful, it's not going to teach those guys a thing, but it may teach a lot of smaller independent developers not to dream big. And even if it's unsuccessful, the defense may well drain resources they can't afford.

As I said, as I'm not out $60, maybe I'm just not as angry as I should be. I just don't see that laying waste to a studio with a whopping fifteen employees for the sake of sheer retribution is the best move, here.

People are blowing this "issue" waaay out of proportion. It's a stupid video game. You got duped, get over it and be more careful in the future. There are way worse things happening in the world all the time that nobody gives a shit about.

fallte:
People are blowing this "issue" waaay out of proportion. It's a stupid video game. You got duped, get over it and be more careful in the future. There are way worse things happening in the world all the time that nobody gives a shit about.

Hm....no.

The existance of worse problems doesn't change the fact that Hello Games pulled the wool over the eyes of its consumers.

Saltyk:
This would have to be pretty blatant to make me feel that the claim is valid. I've played games that didn't have things that I saw in screenshots. I've watched movies that cut scenes that were in previews. I'm like 90% certain I've seen things on the back of boxes that weren't in the finished product.

To claim this as false advertising, you'd have to prove that they made claims that were outright false. And No Man's Sky is found to have misled with its advertising, Fable should have had such claims investigated as well.

Lots of things should have false-advertising claims made against it. Id wager more than half of commercials are BSing you about something.

If it were up to me, false-advertising laws would be rather strict.

Saelune:

Saltyk:
This would have to be pretty blatant to make me feel that the claim is valid. I've played games that didn't have things that I saw in screenshots. I've watched movies that cut scenes that were in previews. I'm like 90% certain I've seen things on the back of boxes that weren't in the finished product.

To claim this as false advertising, you'd have to prove that they made claims that were outright false. And No Man's Sky is found to have misled with its advertising, Fable should have had such claims investigated as well.

Lots of things should have false-advertising claims made against it. Id wager more than half of commercials are BSing you about something.

If it were up to me, false-advertising laws would be rather strict.

It depends what and where. For example, on a commercial for medicine something cannot make legitament medical claims then not perform in the manner described.

The Enquirer:

Saelune:

Saltyk:
This would have to be pretty blatant to make me feel that the claim is valid. I've played games that didn't have things that I saw in screenshots. I've watched movies that cut scenes that were in previews. I'm like 90% certain I've seen things on the back of boxes that weren't in the finished product.

To claim this as false advertising, you'd have to prove that they made claims that were outright false. And No Man's Sky is found to have misled with its advertising, Fable should have had such claims investigated as well.

Lots of things should have false-advertising claims made against it. Id wager more than half of commercials are BSing you about something.

If it were up to me, false-advertising laws would be rather strict.

It depends what and where. For example, on a commercial for medicine something cannot make legitament medical claims then not perform in the manner described.

The amount of medicine level products unregulated by the FDA is appalling. Diet pills and vitamins claiming miraculous weight loss should be under the same scrutiny as medication for depression, MS, and any other medical issue.

But I also think products like Axe body spray should be prevented from advertising as they do. As well as car commercials that show their car driving up buildings to avoid traffic.

erttheking:

Hm....no.

The existance of worse problems doesn't change the fact that Hello Games pulled the wool over the eyes of its consumers.

+1

I hadn't asked Steam for a refund in over 10 years (.. and I've made some pretty bad calls on games =P) but this one, whole different playing field. I hope Sean doesn't see a cent of profit, sony takes a heavy hammered hit -- and anyone in advertising on that team gets struck for it: the rest of the Dev team can walk away unphased for all I care but Sean, Sony and anyone involved in advertising; I have no sympathy for, if they go into debt, great, if they just lose all profit, fine. Reap the rewards of being liars.

Star Citizen developers must be bricking it if this goes anywhere. Though depends on how loyal the sunk cost fallacy can make people.

This has got me thinking as I booted it up last night.

Is Elite Dangerous the only space sim that came out of that span of time the only one to live up to over half of it's promises?

Elite: Dangerous, Star Citizen (which I forgot was a thing until last night), No Man's Sky...

Well, I'm all for the games industry being taken to task. I've tried growing my neckbeared and yelling 'til I was hoarse and that didn't do anything.

Good, hopefully that'll dampen the rampant marketing bullshit but probably not.

Saelune:

The Enquirer:

Saelune:
Lots of things should have false-advertising claims made against it. Id wager more than half of commercials are BSing you about something.

If it were up to me, false-advertising laws would be rather strict.

It depends what and where. For example, on a commercial for medicine something cannot make legitament medical claims then not perform in the manner described.

The amount of medicine level products unregulated by the FDA is appalling. Diet pills and vitamins claiming miraculous weight loss should be under the same scrutiny as medication for depression, MS, and any other medical issue.

But I also think products like Axe body spray should be prevented from advertising as they do. As well as car commercials that show their car driving up buildings to avoid traffic.

Agreed. They need tighter regulations. All I was saying was that's how they skirt the line and manage to remain legal under current regulations.

The Enquirer:

Saelune:

The Enquirer:

It depends what and where. For example, on a commercial for medicine something cannot make legitament medical claims then not perform in the manner described.

The amount of medicine level products unregulated by the FDA is appalling. Diet pills and vitamins claiming miraculous weight loss should be under the same scrutiny as medication for depression, MS, and any other medical issue.

But I also think products like Axe body spray should be prevented from advertising as they do. As well as car commercials that show their car driving up buildings to avoid traffic.

Agreed. They need tighter regulations. All I was saying was that's how they skirt the line and manage to remain legal under current regulations.

ANYTHING you put in your body should be automatically heavily regulated, as should anything that kills people when it doesnt work or is misused (cars).

Saltyk:
To claim this as false advertising, you'd have to prove that they made claims that were outright false. And No Man's Sky is found to have misled with its advertising, Fable should have had such claims investigated as well.

They're going to get their arse kicked.

Not only did they make a whole bunch of entirely false claims pre-release (Multiplayer, endings, AI, Graphics, physics), even several months post release they are still using some of those claims in their adverts and that pre-rendered E3 trailer is still the main trailer they use in promotional materials, even though it's nothing like what you can buy but presents itself as gameplay.

The real question is what happens after the ASA confirms their misleading promotional campaign. I doubt any fine or admonishment the ASA hands out will be of any consequence, but it leaves consumers open to demand refunds en masse whether they've played the game to death or not. That could cost Sony and Hello Games a large amount of money indeed.

Saelune:

The Enquirer:

Saelune:
The amount of medicine level products unregulated by the FDA is appalling. Diet pills and vitamins claiming miraculous weight loss should be under the same scrutiny as medication for depression, MS, and any other medical issue.

But I also think products like Axe body spray should be prevented from advertising as they do. As well as car commercials that show their car driving up buildings to avoid traffic.

Agreed. They need tighter regulations. All I was saying was that's how they skirt the line and manage to remain legal under current regulations.

ANYTHING you put in your body should be automatically heavily regulated, as should anything that kills people when it doesnt work or is misused (cars).

False-advertising is actually pretty regulated, at least in the U.S. I don't know about the U.K. where this is being initiated; the general rule though is that if a REGULAR person under REGULAR circumstances believes something, and it isn't true, then it's false advertising. At least to my recollection. As per one of the examples, a regular person isn't likely to believe a car is driving up a building, but if they showed it as a hover car and proclaimed it as a hover car, but it's not, then that'd be false advertising. The medical examples are spot-on though, the only reason diet pills get away with it is because they put in teeny letters "With regular excercise".

This particular instance reminds me of the false advertising claim against Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was thrown out if I recall.

LTenhet:

Saelune:

The Enquirer:

Agreed. They need tighter regulations. All I was saying was that's how they skirt the line and manage to remain legal under current regulations.

ANYTHING you put in your body should be automatically heavily regulated, as should anything that kills people when it doesnt work or is misused (cars).

False-advertising is actually pretty regulated, at least in the U.S. I don't know about the U.K. where this is being initiated; the general rule though is that if a REGULAR person under REGULAR circumstances believes something, and it isn't true, then it's false advertising. At least to my recollection. As per one of the examples, a regular person isn't likely to believe a car is driving up a building, but if they showed it as a hover car and proclaimed it as a hover car, but it's not, then that'd be false advertising. The medical examples are spot-on though, the only reason diet pills get away with it is because they put in teeny letters "With regular excercise".

This particular instance reminds me of the false advertising claim against Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was thrown out if I recall.

Commercials should be more informative (and relevant). Showing a car driving up a building doesnt tell me what the car can actually do.

I like truck commercials cause its usually them pulling/lifting some heavy thing. You might never need to pull a whale out of a hole, but if you get a truck, you likely want to haul something, so knowing you likely wont ever realistically over-exert your truck is relevant and informative.

Saelune:

The Enquirer:

Saelune:
The amount of medicine level products unregulated by the FDA is appalling. Diet pills and vitamins claiming miraculous weight loss should be under the same scrutiny as medication for depression, MS, and any other medical issue.

But I also think products like Axe body spray should be prevented from advertising as they do. As well as car commercials that show their car driving up buildings to avoid traffic.

Agreed. They need tighter regulations. All I was saying was that's how they skirt the line and manage to remain legal under current regulations.

ANYTHING you put in your body should be automatically heavily regulated, as should anything that kills people when it doesnt work or is misused (cars).

Like I said, I agree with you, unfortunately that's just how it works currently unfortunately :/

SlumlordThanatos:
Wasn't Sony responsible for the game's advertising?

Why aren't they getting any of the blame for this? They certainly deserve their fair share.

Most of the coal powering the hype train was provided by various interviews with Murray himself commenting on features NMS could feature without ever explicitly stating which features would or would not make it into the release version.

AFAIK Sony's marketing was mostly limited to the E3 presentations, and im pretty sure they covered thier ass with the usual 'footage not representative of final product' disclaimer.

fallte:
People are blowing this "issue" waaay out of proportion. It's a stupid video game. You got duped, get over it and be more careful in the future. There are way worse things happening in the world all the time that nobody gives a shit about.

You certainly have a point and more people should be joining the #StopPreorderingVideogames movement, buuut that doesnt excuse Hello Games for hiding as mch as they did about the games actual features.

fallte:
People are blowing this "issue" waaay out of proportion. It's a stupid video game. You got duped, get over it and be more careful in the future. There are way worse things happening in the world all the time that nobody gives a shit about.

Ah, the view of an anarchist? Or a corporatist? The ASA has all the time in the world to give a shit it about this because they get paid for it.

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