No Man’s Sky is now under investigation for false advertising – ExtremeTech

FormationFlying No Man's Sky

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority announced it’s investigating the way No Man’s Sky has been advertised on Steam. Regulators from the ASA have examined the game’s Steam page and, based on the information presented there, compiled a list of ways that No Man’s Sky gameplay deviates from what the company’s advertising copy promises.

Rock Paper Shotgun has details on the investigation, as well as the initial findings by the ASA. Discrepancies between the advertised game and the actual title include:

The ASA has contacted both Valve and No Man’s Sky developer Hello Games to inform them of its findings. They have the opportunity to remove or correct the false advertising and, if they do so, no further action will be taken. Alternately, Hello Games might be allowed to patch the game to bring it into compliance with its advertising, but the near-complete radio silence from the developer (apart from patch notes) makes that unlikely.

While the above video was made in jest, there’s no doubt that it captures the difference between what some fans thought they were buying and what they actually got. This issue also raises the question of what kind curation companies like Valve should be providing. The general agreement in the gaming community seems to be that Steam does a poor job of either ensuring the content available through Greenlight and Early Access is held to even the most modest quality standards. Its ratings and review systems are easy to game, and Valve’s approach is hands-off to the point that some consumers have formed their own coalitions to rate and review products independently. There’s nothing at all intrinsically wrong with that, but the consumers who use a service shouldn’t have to independently attempt to enforce some kind of quality control. Kotaku has an excellent story on how the Greenlight program has spun out of control over the past few years — and why some developers continue to shovel products into the market, even when they don’t sell well:

The reference to Digital Homicide refers to an ongoing court case in which one developer has sued Steam to turn over the details of 100 anonymous users so it can attempt to collect a $100 million lawsuit against them.

Thankfully, No Man’s Sky is nowhere near that bad. But we’ve yet to see any of the various “app stores” (iTunes, Windows, Google Play, or Steam) handle curation in any useful way. The sheer flood of content means all companies rely on automated tools to some degree, and those automated tools are often woefully inadequate when it comes to sorting through the schlock and surfacing great titles.

Hello Games set out to build a game that let players explore and move through an entire galaxy of possibilities, exploring, discovering, and traveling to their heart’s content. The intersection of hype and developer dishonestly has created a toxic situation that has completely overshadowed whatever game HG intended to bring to market. If Hello Games continues to improve their title, it may one day shake its reputation. Today, it’s as much a cautionary tale as a triumphant success.


Post Author: Tech Review