Advertising Standards Rules Hello Games Did Not Mislead Consumers with No Man's Sky

Advertising Standards Rules Hello Games Did Not Mislead Consumers with No Man's Sky

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The investigation into the allegations of false advertising by Hello Games has concluded, and the results have been announced.

Back in September, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority received a number of complaints that the advertising for No Man's Sky. Due to those complaints, the agency launched an investigation. This morning, the ASA announced the results of that investigation.

In a statement on its website, the ASA said that its investigation was complete, and that there was no breach of advertising laws. The statement reads in part,

"We understood that the screenshots and videos in the ad had been created using game footage, and acknowledged that in doing this the advertisers would aim to show the product in the best light. Taking into account the above points, we considered that the overall impression of the ad was consistent with gameplay and the footage provided, both in terms of that captured by Hello Games and by third parties, and that it did not exaggerate the expected player experience of the game. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code."

The investigation comes to a close just as public opinion on No Man's Sky appears to be shifting a bit. This is largely due to the game's Foundation Update, which released earlier this week. It added base-building, a survival mode, and a number of other much-requested features.

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Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

MatthewTheDark:
Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

NMS is pretty much the definition of anticlimactic.

MatthewTheDark:
Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

No one who actually knows advertising laws and standards would be surprised by this. Not that the game is bad and they actually added a fair deal of new modes and content recently. It was simpoly a game that fell victim to the hype train.

That it happened so soon after the Mighty #9 let down was almost laughable. Kids these days just want to believe everything advertising says... guess that's why the penis enlargement business is still going strong eh?

First rule. Only the descriptions on the store page count. No matter who says it.

Second rule: Only Post release information counts. Anything prior to release can be classified as intent or projections, not statements of fact.

Third Rule: The greater the pre launch hype. The more you need to back away from the media surrounding the game.

Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

If i present a car in an Add, shiny with all bells and whistles, and then sell you a rustbucket i wont get away with saying "the driving experience is the same"

So its official.. you can blatantly use bullshots and doctored footage is a-okay and perfectly legal because HEY! The experience is clearly the same... especially if you show features that ARENT IN THE GAME -.-

Karadalis:
Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

Uh uh But the game is procedurally generated. It COULD be in the game. You just haven't had the luck to find it.

MonsterCrit:

MatthewTheDark:
Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

No one who actually knows advertising laws and standards would be surprised by this. Not that the game is bad and they actually added a fair deal of new modes and content recently. It was simpoly a game that fell victim to the hype train.

I'd like to know how they legally justified the lack of multiplayer when it was on physical retail copies but not in the game.

AzrealMaximillion:

MonsterCrit:

MatthewTheDark:
Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

No one who actually knows advertising laws and standards would be surprised by this. Not that the game is bad and they actually added a fair deal of new modes and content recently. It was simpoly a game that fell victim to the hype train.

I'd like to know how they legally justified the lack of multiplayer when it was on physical retail copies but not in the game.

This. And I start to wonder how far one can go. Why bothering at all with truths? NMS had so much hype that their pre-orders probably covered the cost.

Are there even any rules? I mean on PC, for a lot of people it didn't even work properly for some time.

Is there even a limit to bullshitting? Not only regarding footage, but also regarding statements. "It will cure depression of any kind and I mean it." - Why not saying stuff like this?

Dornedas:

Karadalis:
Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

Uh uh But the game is procedurally generated. It COULD be in the game. You just haven't had the luck to find it.

Or they COULDN'T be there at all and you'd never realize because is near impossible to see every single part of the game. What grind my gears is how this grey area gives the benefit of the doubt to the developers, as it makes it so easy to exploit.

CaitSeith:

Dornedas:

Karadalis:
Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

Uh uh But the game is procedurally generated. It COULD be in the game. You just haven't had the luck to find it.

Or they COULDN'T be there at all and you'd never realize because is near impossible to see every single part of the game. What grind my gears is how this grey area gives the benefit of the doubt to the developers, as it makes it so easy to exploit.

Welcome to Capitalism?
Corporations in any industry almost always get the benefit of the doubt. It's sadly an intrinsic part of the system.

Here is a video regarding this subject.

My opinion is that the fault, if any, lies with:
1. Your justice systems and their relationship with dishonest business practises.
2. The dysfunctional relationship between management, marketing, the hype-train and the devs.
3. The consumer behaviours that aggrevate this kind of thing, and the parties that promote this kind of behaviour (consumers themselves and sellers).

Silentpony:

MatthewTheDark:
Not surprised this lead nowhere, but I do feel this is a touch anticlimactic for the whole NMS thing.

NMS is pretty much the definition of anticlimactic.

My favorite part is when you get to the "end" and there's just a giant middle finger with a sign hanging off of it that reads "Now do it all over again, fucker."

:^)

I willingly admit that I don't know anything about the law side of things, but this looks like a super dangerous precedent to me.

This is basically a green light for companies to advertise their game as what ever they want, and when the complaints come in, they can utilize their "its randomly generated therefore your criticism means nothing" shield.

The trailer for NMS features a dinosaur like creature with a very long neck. Now I could be wrong, but because the game just mix and matches varying pieces and sizes to generate its animals, LENGTH cannot be adjusted. That creature CANNOT appear in the game.

I don't want to sound like a defeatist here, but you all know that this is gonna happen again, right? Everyone will forget about NMS soon, and the whole process will repeat itself. Our voices won't be heard, and our crusade for quality will mean nothing. I just wanted to put that into perspective for you all here. Sorry.

So today we learned that the ASA knows absolutely nothing at all about video games, whilst developers and publishers have been given a blank slate to make up whatever old baloney they feel like, present it as gameplay and get away with it.

Hooray?

Avnger:

CaitSeith:

Dornedas:

Uh uh But the game is procedurally generated. It COULD be in the game. You just haven't had the luck to find it.

Or they COULDN'T be there at all and you'd never realize because is near impossible to see every single part of the game. What grind my gears is how this grey area gives the benefit of the doubt to the developers, as it makes it so easy to exploit.

Welcome to Capitalism?
Corporations in any industry almost always get the benefit of the doubt. It's sadly an intrinsic part of the system.

I was talking less about the system and laws, and more about people's opinion. It's obvious that any system is designed to give the benefit of the doubt to ones with the most power (be it capitalist, socialist, etc).

Yeah no real surprise there.

There does seem to a bit of the boy who cried wolf to gamers these days - think we should all just calm down a bit and save our angst for something that really deserves it.

Karadalis:
Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

The two videos on the game's Steam page still show pre-release footage that doesn't match what's actually in the game. I suppose game companies have now gained the legally-protected right to utterly lie to our faces.

"We understood that the screenshots and videos in the ad had been created using game footage

Either I'm thinking of a different ad, or they have a strange definition of "game footage"

Dornedas:

Karadalis:
Oh bullshit. The screenshots and videos featured content that was not in the game!

Uh uh But the game is procedurally generated. It COULD be in the game. You just haven't had the luck to find it.

software advertizing laws are fairly lax on purpose, they have to be, since software changes at such a drastic and rapid rate. If we analyzed all Adds for "not in the game" content i would wager that basicly anything that came out 6 or more months prior to release would be guilty. Instead they analyze the adds to determine if the things that are missing are big selling points that customers would buy the game for, or smaller things unlikely to sway a customers decision like individual enemy types, Ship controls or UI elements. Its also worth noting that most all the more egregious claims where made in interviews, and on twitter, where this organization does not hold any actual sway.

B.F.S. - but no real surprise. They would have to understand the medium of games and the mechanics of what was being promised, and will never be in the game. Ever.

Houseman:

"We understood that the screenshots and videos in the ad had been created using game footage

Either I'm thinking of a different ad, or they have a strange definition of "game footage"

Well if it's the second video on Steam, which is basically just ingame footage of someone taking off from a big ship, flying down to a planet, taking off again, warping to a different planet, landing on it, and look around a bit, then yeah.

Hell, the first video (the actual add I suspect) isn't even that misleading. It just shows you walking out of a cave, getting into your ship, you taking off, flying off into space, getting into a minor space-battle, and flying down to a different planet.

Where Hello Games were misleading, was in their hype buildup. Their adds don't actually showcase anything that isn't in the game. Sure, Sean Murray lied his pants off in interviews, but I suspect that isn't within the purview of the ASA.

EDIT:

I mean, none of the ads for NMS I've seen have actually said "multiplayer" or "ship costumisation", or "ship renaming". They just show you flying around (which confused me, because to my eyes they advertised a 15 Euro game, not a 60 Euro game)

Only suckers lost.

The world is just.

Karadalis:
So its official.. you can blatantly use bullshots and doctored footage is a-okay and perfectly legal because HEY! The experience is clearly the same...

Which is a tactic they used for decades now. Bullshots are such a common practice that there are companies dedicated to "doctore footage" for marketing proposes since the SNES era.

Not that it is any justification, but NMS didn't trend in some malicious new grounds here, which is why the ASA ruled out they are no different than your regular FF 15, Bioshock Infinite, Killzone 2 or Colonial Marines.

I get that they are only able to assess the ads on the Steam page. But that ruling is crazy, it basically says that they think because it's procedurally generated that it's impossible to prove that certain advertised elements wouldn't ever exist. It's not magic, half of the video they took down was just outright stuff that is impossible even with procedural generation.

They could at least fix transitions between planets for enemy ships, or the respawn of destroyed space ships so you could dogfight without having to glitch. Stuff still shown in the trailers that are still up... that just don't work. Like I know why they gave this stuff a pass, but it's been months, they could at least fix it.

4Aces:
B.F.S. - but no real surprise. They would have to understand the medium of games and the mechanics of what was being promised, and will never be in the game. Ever.

Yeah! Damn adults! They don't know anything about our medium! They'll never understand videogames! Only gamers should judge gamers!

/SoMuchSarcasm

Hey you know what? I got an idea, how about we wait for review and Lets plays before buying a game! I don't even blame hello games, i blame the consumers. You guys brought this on yourselves. Like with DLC and Micro transactions.

What interests me is that people cared so much about No Man's Sky that they felt the need to raise the case in the first place. I mean, have you even seen the promotional material for Bioshock: Infinite? Gameplay walkthroughs, dev videos and trailers show you scenes, characters, story elements and game mechanics that are completely gone from the released game. I'd say that was a far more flagrant bit of inaccurate advertising, and though people noticed, no one seemed to pass judgement about it.

kekkres:
software advertizing laws are fairly lax on purpose, they have to be, since software changes at such a drastic and rapid rate. If we analyzed all Adds for "not in the game" content i would wager that basicly anything that came out 6 or more months prior to release would be guilty.

I'm not sure whether that would be such a bad thing. So what if a company has to wait with advertising their game untill it is at least somewhat done? I don't see why people should have the right to promise me things that they can't deliver. Right now the rules are so lax that half of the ads I see about anything are blatandly dishonest in one way or another.

It doesn't really matter what the ruling was. Hello Games has already squandered the good faith of their player base. If they make another game, nobody will buy it.

 

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