The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is looking into how Hello Games advertised No Man's Sky on Steam, according to a report by Eurogamer. The organization is an independent regulator and watchdog, ensuring that marketing is not lying to consumers. The ASA can have advertisements it believes are false or misleading removed from websites and search results.
The investigation in this case was triggered by "several complaints" about No Man's Sky's advertising. The complaints point towards some screenshots used to advertise the game, showing more advanced animal behavior and starship combat than was available in the final product. The ASA has already contacted No Man's Sky developer Hello Games and Valve Software about the matter.
Apparently, while the complaints are aimed at the Steam page, the ASA told Eurogamer that its ruling in the matter would apply to other No Man's Sky advertisements, including YouTube videos and the PlayStation Store.
"The marketing of the game was very different to the endgame. The end game is a shallow screenshot generator, and in some ways it reminded me of Spore," one of the complaintants, Reddit user AzzerUK told Eurogamer. "I figured that if we want Steam store pages for games to start falling in-line and stop misleading consumers, then it would take consumers to point these problems out to the ASA, rather than all sit around on Reddit complaining to each other but assuming that it'll all get sorted by itself eventually."
"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," they added.
It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this investigation and the result of that ruling on other developers and publishers.