The makers of the video game “No Man’s Sky” are under investigation for false advertising

Not what it seems?
Not what it seems?
Image: Hello Games
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No Man’s Sky was billed as a revolutionary video game—one that contained such multitudes of programmatically generated planets and animals that the developers said even they weren’t sure what players would find in its vast universe.

What the players did find, based on user reviews and comment threads across the internet, was a bare-bones, bug-ridden, ultimately shallow version of the game the developers at Hello Games had promised.

On Steam, the PC game distribution platform, 88% of the more than 10,000 No Man’s Sky user reviews posted in last 30 days are negative.

“This game has endless possiblities [sic],” the top review says. “Almost all of which are not featured in this game.”

Another user enumerated the specific features they believed were promised but not delivered. This was the list:

-Faction’s Waring
-Amazing Ship Customization
-Amazing Crafting System
-Landing on Asteroids
-Having Fleets Appear Out of Nowhere
-Destroying The Fleets
-Destroying Space Stations
-Large Scale Space Battles
-Joining Those Battles
-Sand Planets
-Large Creatures Affecting The Landscape

One player was frustrated enough to submit a formal complaint to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and wrote on Reddit about the agency’s response:

In the ASA response, they say that both Hello Games and Valve have a joint responsibility, and so both organisations have now been contacted by the ASA and have been told to respond to the following issues which the ASA picked out as the primary issues (compiled from a number of complainants that contacted the ASA).

Those issues would include some or all of the videos and screenshots currently on the game’s Steam page. The ASA is an independent regulator that cannot enforce legislation, but can force the removal of such promotional materials if they’re found to be misleading.

An ASA spokesperson confirmed the investigation to the BBC. We’ve reached out to Hello Games for a response. The studio has remained silent since shortly after the game’s release.