The Advertising Standards Association are investigating Hello Games and Valve over No Man's Sky. The ASA from the U.K., have contacted both Hello Games and Valve about No Man's Sky because the main concern appears to be whether what's on the game's Steam page accurately shows what the game is all about.
According to Eurogamer the investigation is centered around the promotional videos and artwork for No Man's Sky. A post on Reddit from user AzzerUK, goes into further detail of what ASA is investigating regarding the matter, including the game's UI design, ship flying behavior, the behavior of the animals in the game, the large-scale space combat, the structures and architecture of the buildings, the water, the loading time and the aiming systems.
Gamers felt as if what was promoted in the videos for No Man's Sky was nothing like what was featured in the actual game. Sean Murray and the rest of Hello Games have been surprisingly quiet about the absent features and the stark contrast between what appeared in the promotional trailers and what the actual game delivered.
If the ASA finds that the complaints have merit and that the promo videos for No Man's Sky were intentionally misleading -- containing content not at all present or possible in the game -- then they could have the ads pulled from search engines and request additional sanctions against Hello Games.
In the U.K., they actually take consumer complaints and misleading advertising very seriously. Previously they had Electronic Arts' Dungeon Keeper ads barred from being displayed in the U.K., due to being misleading.
Similar complaints also popped up over the game Aliens: Colonial Marines, where a lot of the footage and screenshots from Gearbox Software's title didn't match up at all with the finished product. It turned out that a lot of the game was outsourced and poorly done by multiple studios as Gearbox was focusing on getting Borderlands 2 completed. A lawsuit popped up against Gearbox in relation to misleading advertising but it didn't turn out so well for the plaintiffs.
In this case, a lot of gamers feel as if they were strung along and put money down for No Man's Sky when it didn't quite live up to what was being promoted, not for PC and not for PS4.
The ASA will be examining all of the promotional material for the game, from the in-store graphics, loading screen representations, mission options and convoys, as well as how the factions were advertised versus what was actually in the game.
According to the Reddit post, the ASA are also looking into marketing material. As some of you may know, outlets such as IGN ran exclusive promotional campaigns showing off features for No Man's Sky and the ASA will be examining to see how some of those match up with what actually appeared in the full game.
It's nice to see that a measure of consumer mediation is taking place by an advertising standards institution. Here in the U.S., the equivalent of the ASA would be the FTC. According to the Federal Trade Commission, if consumers feel as if they've been misled in some way, they're encouraged to file complaints. So far there haven't been any reports of the FTC investigating No Man's Sky.
I do wonder if the ASA will be taking a look at Sony as well, since they definitely played a larger role in the game's promotion than Valve, due to being distributors of the title on the PS4. For now, the entire situation is still under investigation.