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Steam investigated over misleading No Man’s Sky promo materials


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An investigation into No Man’s Sky has been launched to determine if the game's advertising materials were misleading.

Speaking to Eurogamer, the Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed that it’s looking into the controversial video game to see if customers may have been misled. The watchdog reportedly received “several complaints” about the new title, with users taking particular issue with assets included on the No Man’s Sky Steam store page. The ongoing investigation involves both Hello Games, the development studio, and Valve, the creator of Steam.

Some of the complaints allege that the Steam page features screenshots and videos that demonstrate content not available in the game. Here's a list of the primary issues where misrepresentation may have occurred, as posted to Reddit:

  • User-interface design
  • Ship-flying behaviour
  • Behaviour of animals
  • Large-scale space combat
  • Structures and buildings as pictured
  • Flowing water
  • Speed of galaxy warp/loading time
  • Aiming systems
  • size of creatures
  • Behaviour of ships and sentinels
  • Quality of graphics
  • References to: lack of loading screens, trade convoys between stars, factions vying over territory

In a statement, the ASA said: "We will ensure the advertisers are made aware of any points relating to other marketing material under their control (such as the Hello Games YouTube channel and website).”

It continued: "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.”

No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival video game set in space, and was released in August. It was unique in that players would navigate a procedurally generated universe that features more than 18 quintillion accessible planets. But reception of the game quickly turned negative after it appeared Hello Games may have over-hyped the content.

One of the players who complained to the ASA posted the following message to Reddit: "It’s too easy to see these companies keep pushing their ridiculous marketing, but never do anything about it. I hope people will start complaining elsewhere now too.”

He continued: “I didn’t mean it as an attack on Hello Games. I just felt very misled about this particular product and thought I would try writing a formal complaint to see if anything could be done about digital game marketing."

No Man’s Sky currently has a 71% score on Metacritic, and a 5/10 score on Steam. We gave it 7/10 in our review, praising its incredible technical achievement and exploration mechanisms, but bemoaning the repetitive mechanics, and frustrating bugs and crashes.

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Watch: No Man's Sky preview

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