All that silence, and suddenly No Man’s Sky is back in the spotlight for more than one reason again.
Following the first major update to the game right at the start of the week, Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed that Hello Game’s advertising for the game did not, in fact, mislead consumers during the launch period.
23 complaints were filed to the ASA by players who considered No Man’s Sky’s advertising campaigns depicted elements, visuals and gameplay that were not evident or available in the final launch version of the PC launch. In their response, the ASA requested details both from Hello Games and Valve regarding the sale and distribution of the game in question.
With the exception of games published by Valve themselves, neither Valve nor Steam wrote marketing copy for games hosted on the service. They explained that they had a refund policy, under which customers could seek refunds for games that had been played for less than two hours in the first 14 days after purchase. Valve said they had consulted with Hello Games, who would provide information in relation to the complaint.
Hello Games said that, as each user’s experience would be very different, it would be difficult to recreate the exact scenes from the ad. However, they believed it was fairly straightforward to locate content of the type shown in the ad and to demonstrate that such content was commonly experienced by all users who played NMS for an average period of time. They stated that all material features from the ad that had been challenged by complainants appeared in the NMS universe in abundance. While each player experienced different parts of the NMS universe, there was a low probability that anyone playing the game as intended would fail to encounter all these features in some form within an average play-through.
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.
You can read the full ruling, which goes into far greater detail than anything I can say here (outside of copy/pasting the entire thing, of course) via the ASA website. It’s an interesting read, from the perspective of advertising standards for video games and the importance of understanding your audience. I’m sure everyone at Hello Games would love to have a ‘do over’ button handy, but that’s what happens when you try so hard to be something you just didn’t have enough time for. Luckily for fans who are sticking around, there’s plenty to look forward to …