No Man’s Sky now under investigation for misleading customers

29 Sep 2016

A promotional image for No Man's Sky. Image: Hello Games

Following the crashing hype that was the release of space exploration game No Man’s Sky, its developers are now under investigation over claims it ran misleading advertising about the game’s features.

Developed by the indie studio Hello Games – and led by Irishman Sean Murray – No Man’s Sky was one of the most anticipated games of the last few years, with players promised the chance to explore 18 quintillion procedurally-generated planets.

However, soon after its launch in August, critics and players alike were more than displeased about the fact it not only had numerous bugs in the gameplay, but that a lot of promised content simply wasn’t there.

Future Human

These included giant space battles, widely varying life forms and planets that would look vastly different from the one visited before.

Yet gameplay revealed that many of these features were either scaled back or not included at all, despite the game being delayed by a number of months earlier this year.

Now, according to Eurogamer, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has confirmed it is investigating the game’s developers after “several complaints” of misleading advertising.

While the game was released on the PS4 and PC, the ASA investigation is only investigating the No Man’s Sky page on Steam, the gaming platform run by Valve.

The page features older screenshots and trailers for the game that showed gameplay originally shown back in 2014.

Yet one Reddit user felt compelled to contact the ASA “after seeing just how vastly different the trailers for No Man’s Sky were from the actual released game”.

In a post to the giant message board, user AzzerUK spoke of their decision to take it to a higher authority: “I feel most people on the Reddit thread wanted to see Hello Games ‘punished’ directly though, rather than share my more generalised view that the game’s marketing needs to be brought down to earth a bit more.”

In a rather interesting choice of wording, considering that it is now under investigation, Hello Games previously issued a statement on 2 September addressing the players’ complaints.

“What matters now, as always, is what we do rather than what we say,” the company said. “We’re developers, and our focus is first on resolving any issues people have with the game as it is.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic