Hello Games Being Investigated By The Advertising Standards Authority Over No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky will be seen as one of the most hyped games ever. Millions of people bought into the vision of No Man’s Sky through the trailers and screenshots shared by Hello Games, which promised a lot of features that are currently not in the game. Hello Games have been patching the game since launch, but haven’t expressly spoken about No Man’s Sky since launch.

The community has been very vocal though and some people in the UK have issued complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, which has begun an investigation looking at the promotional materials used by Hello Games when promoting No Man’s Sky to the public, Eurogamer has confirmed.. The complaints centre around the fact that the final product does not contain things that were shown in trailers and screenshots, or things that were spoken about by Sean Murray and Hello Games.

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These include proper interaction between animals on planet, large scale creatures, ships that would accompany you on journeys, large battles in Space between the factions of No Man’s Sky, trade convoys travelling between stars, and loading times. At the moment the Steam page of the No Man’s Sky still has videos and images that are not representative of the final game.

Reddit user AzzerUK was one of the people to issue a complaint, and has compiled some of the feedback received by the ASA. In a response the ASA states the following:

“The outcomes of ASA investigations are cross-applicable to other marketing making the same claims, so any decision reached in relation to the Steam page would apply to other advertising for No Man’s Sky where the same (or materially similar) claims appear.”

This means if Hello Games is found to have breached advertising standards all store pages, and not just Steam’s, will have to be changed to reflect what the actual product contains.

Source: Eurogamer/Reddit

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From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.

26 Comments

  1. So, all that will mostly come of this is that Hello Games will have to change the screen shots and trailers they’ve got on Steam, YouTube etc.

    That might not seem like much, but the damage is done for them as a company. I’d expect them to rename or reform ‘Hello Games’ before we hear anything about their next project…

  2. I’ve neither bought nor played the game but it was painfully obvious from when the hype train rolled (uncontrollably) out of the station that this was going to end in tears. While the publishers are probably mostly at fault the devs didn’t help themselves and anyone could see that a small team like Hello wasn’t going to be able to deliver on all promises made. It’s like Peter Molyneux all over again really. What is it with us Brits and promising what we can’t deliver.
    I do sympathise with Sean and the team but surely theyre guilty to a degree also. This industry really is like no other when it comes to hype and consumer over excitement so all parties are guilty, devs, pubs and Joe (danger) Public.
    I mean didn’t people realise that a glorified flight sim with 15 zazillion galaxies to explore was probably going to be a) over reaching, b) under-populated and c) all a little empty / shallow?
    I say bring on Joe Danger 3!

  3. I enjoyed Jeff Minter’s take on NMS, sums up my thoughts and experience of the game exactly. With some added nostalgia and perspective for good measure..

    http://minotaurproject.co.uk/blog/?p=380

    • What?? An old hippy with a strange fixation on hairy animals is talking more sense than a bunch of whiney internet people?

      Everyone should listen to Jeff Minter. He knows what he’s talking about. Particularly when he talks about the price.

  4. Sean Murray worked hard to get his moment and was supported by Sony hell even Phil Spencer offered to help them out.

    I’ve no sympathy for hello games on this. Millions of people bought into this vision and it hasn’t delivered. If it gets patched in the future then fair enough but come out and tell us what’s happening.

  5. It was false advertising. The sheer amount of lies that they told would have gotten anyone else a right bollucking from the ASA. Features promised weren’t in the game, misleading advertising and a lot of shoddy stuff. NMS is often called No Man’s Lie for a good reason.

    Hello Games could have salvaged a medicore(from what i’ve heard and seen of it) game if the marketing wasn’t mostly likes. What Sony should have done was be completely hands off but have everything ran past them to prevent well, this stuff from happening.

    This could destroy them as their reputation is kinda trashed by it. They managed to do a Peter Molyneux on a larger scale. No-one should be full Peter Molyneux! Even Peter Molyneux doesn’t go full Peter Molyneux!

  6. How ridiculous. Did the ASA investigate Microsoft when they abandoned their original vision for the Xbox One? When millions of gamers paid hundreds of pounds/dollars for (mandatory) Kinect and their dreams of a voice activated, pizza ordering, all-in-One entertainment centre? Or are they just jumping all over this because it’s easy to pick on and make an example of the little guy.

    So a game wasn’t what everyone expected. Are we going to start investigating movie studios because the movie trailer looked awesome but the movie was complete shit. ‘The trailer made me think it was something else but it wasn’t what I expected!’ Waa waa waa. Get real.

    • Except the Xbox One released as the product it was advertised as. Changes have been made down the line, but nothing that compromises the terms and conditions people accept when using the system, not as far as I know.

      If a trailer promotes a raft of footage that in now way bears resemblance to the actual movie, fine. If the footage ‘is’ the same, but you don’t like it, tough luck.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Pl4NzN6q4M

      Maybe you need to ‘get real’.

      • MS did claim the Kinect was an “essential” part of the XBox one though. And then the next year it suddenly wasn’t essential at all. Anyone buying one in the first few months could quite reasonably accuse MS of false advertising and blatant lies.

        If anyone had bothered to pester the ASA over it, they’d have been told “never make those claims again”. Which by that point wouldn’t have mattered. I’m kind of surprised no Americans have decided to sue them over it.

        And is the best argument for NMS being falsely advertised really that video? Find one slightly odd looking creature, because it’s quicker than hunting around for something that looks as good as the bit from the trailer? Yes, there are some boring planets with stupid creatures. But there are some gorgeous looking planets with lots of interesting creatures just like in that bit of the trailer.

        Mind you, the trailers all seem to have butterflies in. Which seem to be remarkably rare in the game. But they do exist. Possibly a patch tweaked the chances of butterflies, but they were there to begin with.

        And yes, the trailers and all the demos of the game were obviously fiddled to guarantee it looked it’s best. I’ve not got a problem with that. Haven’t really got a problem with the boring planets when there are some lovely ones to discover either.

      • Kinect was made essential on launch I think, and up to a certain point until MS decided otherwise. When they changed their advertising line on that, I can’t be sure, but advertising wise it was true at that time. I’m pretty sure both MS and Sony immunised themselves with T&C’s regarding changing the system’s various purposes, given that Sony got a grilling over that whole PS3 other-OS issue. Blimey, Sony changed the original purpose of the PS Vita, but it happens now and it’s all the more reason to be cautious these days.

        For sure you have to take the video with a pinch of salt (it’s me being a bit toungue and cheek about it) as it’s only one tiny morsel of the full game on both accounts and it’s ultimately no different than Watch_dogs E3 or The Division E3. But it’s clear what was advertised is different to what the product actually is, and the argument of essentially not liking a film doesn’t match up.

        As for the ASA, well, truth be told you could wipe the floor with more than a few dev teams and publishers here and there. It’s a shame nobody does, as this culture of unfilled promises, as rare as it, is still pretty unjustified. I just hope refunds get more accessible without getting unreasonable, but let’s not start that debate up again :P

      • The Xbox One barely resembles the announced product. Nothing really remains of the ‘promises’ given leading up to the original launch. Consumers were mislead and many, I imagine, bought into the original concept of the Xbox One with Kinect ALWAYS being Mandatory. They paid an additional hundred dollars/pounds for a useless peripheral that received zero support. Where was the uproar?

        I’m just using Microsoft and the Xbox One as an example. Sony have had their fair share of shady dealings too. Although I do remember people kicking up a fuss when they removed the ability or run Linux on the PS3. They were sued I believe. They were also sued for the PSN hack if I remember correctly.

        This whole debacle with Hello Games just feels like people are jumping on the bandwagon because the movement has gained a ridiculous amount of traction (and so much media coverage). Let’s all hate on Hello Games and No Man’s Sky because they had the nerve to make a game that doesn’t meet our expectations and maybe some early ideas didn’t make it into the final game. How dare they.

        Retailers have been forced to offer refunds for crying out loud. So suddenly anyone who isn’t feeling the game after an hour or two, reacts as if Sean Murray threw their puppy into a meat grinder so they can get their money back.

        The sad thing is, it’s a great game (IMO) and one with room to expand and improve like Driveclub before it (which received a similar kind of scrutiny). We’ll probably never see the true potential of NMS now because of the ridiculous overreaction of a growing number of entitled gamers and the gaming media. Who are no doubt salivating at the potential demise of Hello Games and the future articles it will inspire. That’ll teach ’em.

        And people wonder why we get the same recycled games year after year.

        Advice to small developers: Don’t take risks. Don’t share your excitement, ideas and/or progress with the gaming community unless the final product is exactly what the gaming community has envisioned and/or what you hoped you could achieve. Do report every single minuscule detail to the gaming community like they are a member of the team and/or on the board of directors. Prepare to be chastised and investigated for all your hard work.

      • Good points being made by everyone and i guess individual perspective comes into it too.

        150 hours in i couldn’t possibly hate on this game but i’m still able to enjoy videos like this.. ;)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mz5YPkThOU

      • That link from TSBonyman. GENIUS. Plain and simple.

      • ‘Collect shit with your shit collecting gun… and then f*ck off to the next planet!” Tears! :D This is the new Hilter / Downfall video. We need more!

  7. Could they not get out of this by claiming it must be on one of the billions of planets players haven’t yet explored? Who could disprove that? :P

    Seems a little harsh – only since they are not the first people to do this – most games are delivered broken, and/or dissimilar to what was promised, visually or otheriwse – Watch_Dogs? The Division?

  8. I do feel for the guys at Hello Games. First the Sky fiasco, and now this. It does seem like the devs made the same mistake as was made with games like The Division which clearly showed a passion for something big, new and bold, but realistically wasn’t possible in x amount of time and resources. The amount of content and fixes added in the day one patch stunk of a game that was rushed out ahead of time, and I’ve no doubt the game will be more fulfilling to original promises many patches down the line.

    I think a slap on the wrist and a correction of current advertising is in order, but no doubt the team’s reputation could get damaged and they’ll want to start afresh having learned a lot from this. At the very least you’ve got to say their ambition has been huge, having reached these kind of scales of hype and discrepancy for an indie studio is unheard of.

    • Sadly, with the last sentence of your comment, we (perhaps) have learnt why. It’s just too much to aim for – which, in some respects – would be a shame to curtail that sort of thinking.

      • I’m not sure Ubisoft managed it with The Division or Watch_Dogs to be fair.

      • Aye, I know what you mean.

        Software companies definitely need to manage expectations and it’s something Ubisoft has been on the receiving end of a particularly vitriolic community. I have to say… rightly so. You can’t keep doing this as we’ve seen. For the smaller studio (Hello Games being tiny in comparison) it’s been very personal which is a real shame. However, that doesn’t excuse them from any wrongdoing but I would like Sony to also take ownership if they’ve helped “manage” the media and hype of the title. Obviously if they haven’t then it really is on Hello Games to handle the fallout.

        Whoever is to blame – and I’m allowing for the community to be at fault here as well – I just hope lessons are learnt all ’round.

  9. The damage has been done to Hello Games and No Mans Sky itself, what with less than a 1000 concurrent players on PC each day, so the only good thing to come of this is other devs and publishers (hopefully) learning from Hello Game’s mistakes.

    There’s no chance that games won’t be overhyped at E3 or ‘Gameplay’ from trailers being cutscenes run at ridiculous settings (Ain’t a chance Battlefield 1 will look like its most recent trailer) but at least they should have the features that were and continue to be advertised.

    And maybe they’ll be more realistic with release dates. No-one wants a rushed game that’s shit forever over a 6 month wait for a tasty polished product.

  10. ADIOS – Amazing Discoveries In Outer Space and Elite Dangerous have me covered for getting off this rock.
    Was close to getting No Man’s Sky but I am glad I didn’t having read, heard and seen the poo-storm.

    • Tried Everspace yet? That’s supposed to be quite good too.

      • Everspace is very good!, procedural systems jumping from one to the next knowing that you’re going to die and have to restart. reminds me of Rogue Legacy, Die spend money on upgrades and try to get a little further.

        The space battles and particle effects are beautiful, controls quite nicely too!.

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