UK Advertising Watchdog Says No Man's Sky Ads Weren't Misleading

Placing the blame on the consumer is a great way to go out of business.

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After receiving 23 complaints about the No Man's Sky Steam page, the UK Advertising Standards Authority launched an inquiry into whether the game's screenshots and video were misleading. After their investigation, the ASA has released a statement detailing their findings at length and the determination that Hello Games did not engage in any misleading behavior in their ad campaign.

The ASA's primary argument against the complaints leveled at Hello Games is the procedural generation used in No Man's Sky. The screenshots and video that showed advanced animal behavior, different ship-flying behavior and large-scale combat were a key target of complaints. However, Hello Games response to the ASA was that those events could occur in No Man's Sky, but that they were rare purposefully.

The ASA stated, "The summary description of the game made clear that it was procedurally generated, that the game universe was essentially infinite, and that the core premise was exploration." This basically means that the ASA sees Hello Games as being off the hook for any complaints against certain events not happening in-game since it's supposedly all random anyway.

The ASA's findings went into more detail about allegations that graphics were misrepresentative of the final product with the statement that graphical fidelity was dependent on a user's PC. They, however, did not take into account the performance issues experienced by PC gamers at the game's launch that may have forced them to play at a lower graphics setting than their PC was capable of handling.

The ASA's full response to complaints against Hello Games' No Man's Sky goes into more detail about how the ASA came to the conclusion that Hello Games wasn't culpable for false advertising. However, it should be noted that Hello Games was the primary provider of footage and other evidence that was used in this determination. One of the original complainants, Redditor AzzerUK has stated that he will be forwarding concerns over the outcome of the ASA's investigation to Sir Hayden Phillips who is the independent reviewer of ASA Adjudications.

Coincidentally coinciding with the release of the ASA's findings, Hello Games has broken its silence with the release of a new update for No Man's Sky. The Foundation update is supposed to be the first in a series of patches that will add content that will help fulfill the promise of the original vision of No Man's Sky. However, it may be too little too late, despite the ASA's decision many fans have expressed outrage at their experience with the game and Hello Games' reaction to negative press.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    November 30, 2016 6:10 AM

    Jason Faulkner posted a new article, UK Advertising Watchdog Says No Man's Sky Ads Weren't Misleading

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      November 30, 2016 6:45 AM

      Yeah, not sure I agree. I will say the update is nice, maybe it will get there some day soon. Willing toggle them the chance to improve it.

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        November 30, 2016 7:33 AM

        Willing toggle.. haha

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          November 30, 2016 8:03 AM

          i imagine some people will willingly toggle this thread

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      November 30, 2016 6:49 AM

      UK Advertising Watchdog is full of shit.

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      November 30, 2016 6:58 AM

      That reads like hello games just got one over on the asa with a bullshit explanation.

      Yes it's infinite in that it can spit out another cluster of generated planets whenever necessary, but that doesn't mean it's possible for it to randomly generate gameplay.

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        November 30, 2016 8:58 AM

        Yeah, the ASA got snowed.
        They must not have seen the reddit thread of all the missing features and blatant lies.

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      November 30, 2016 7:34 AM

      Was it not advertising multiplayer?

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      November 30, 2016 7:35 AM

      There's a difference between being disappointed in a product and being misled by a products advertising. Just saying.

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        November 30, 2016 7:37 AM

        I love the game, but it is worth pointing out that there is content in the Steam trailers that simply doesn't exist in the game. I don't know if that's grounds for legal action, but it's worth considering.

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          November 30, 2016 10:30 AM

          if that were an actionable offense half the damn site would get yanked.

          unless it's your first day, never trust pre-release media.

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            November 30, 2016 10:31 AM

            That's disingenuous, though. The harder people and organizations crack down on false advertising, the better.

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              November 30, 2016 10:36 AM

              i don't disagree, but it feels a bit like polishing the brass on the titanic. i would envision similar results from attempting to punish film promotional material by cherry-picking presentation and misquoting reviewers or previewers.

              at this point, the stage has been set. as a consumer, you should distrust marketing material. because of that unspoken truism, they're largely unregulated. i don't think the UK advertising watchdog is gonna change that tide.

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            November 30, 2016 10:39 AM

            We should expect preroll images, videos, or demos to perhaps not be 100% representative, but major gameplay features should not be unveiled or promised if they're not going to make it. And it's not just one minor thing here or there, I think several significant features were missed.

            I guess you can argue what "significant" or "major feature" means, but it seems a worthy argument to have.

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      November 30, 2016 10:50 AM

      UK Advertising Watchdog aren't familiar with games, clearly. Just because it was procedurally generated doesn't mean the dev/publisher can get away with claims that show up nowhere in the game.

      Using a misleading video on the store page falls under all the violations they are supposed to go after.