The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that Hello Games and Sean Murray did not mislead players using Steam.
Before commencing the investigation, 23 consumers had complained to the Advertising Standards Authority alleging that the content of No Man’s Sky did not match that which was being described on the Steam page for the game. The complaints mention that what was in the game did not match the adverts or the screenshots available.
In the assessment, the ASA found that
The ad contained several screenshots and two different video trailers for the game, as well as a text description. We understood that, as NMS was procedurally generated, player experiences would vary according to what material was generated in their play-through. The summary description of the game made clear that it was procedurally generated, that the game universe was essentially infinite, and that the core premise was exploration. As such, we considered consumers would understand the images and videos to be representative of the type of content they would encounter during gameplay, but would not generally expect to see those specific creatures, landscapes, battles and structures. We therefore considered whether the game and footage provided by Hello Games contained gameplay material of a sufficiently similar type to that depicted in the ad.
The ruling also highlights that the interface design found in the videos and screenshots had undergone cosmetic changes.
we did not consider that these elements would affect a consumer’s decision to purchase the game, as they were superficial and incidental components in relation to the core gameplay mechanics and features.
Finally, the report reads that the screenshots and videos had been created by using the game footage and in doing so, the advertisements aimed to show No Man’s Sky in the best light. The case reviewers felt that the overall impression of the Steam page was consistent with gameplay and did not exaggerate the expected experience a player could expect.