Back in September, we reported that UK watchdog group Advertising Standards Authority was investigating No Man’s Sky following “several” — we now know it was 23 — complaints over the game’s advertising practices. Now that group has issued its ruling, declining to uphold the complaints.
Gamers had argued that “some of the game content was not as depicted or described,” specifically as pertained to advertising videos and screenshots, the bit about “exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe,” and the claim that players would be able to “Fly smoothly from deep space to planetary surfaces, with no loading screens, and no limits … Trade convoys travel between stars, factions vie for territory.”
But the ASA dismissed those complaints on the grounds that procedural generation ensures that “player experiences would vary according to what material was generated in their play-through” and that “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.”
Likewise, the watchdog group dismissed the idea that the dramatically changed UI was a factor in whether anyone would choose to buy the game, that ad footage did not differ enough from game footage to mislead, that animals and other objects in the trailer were indeed not present in the game but were not significant enough to mislead; that warping did not “represent an interruption to the gameplay experience” in a misleading level of contradiction to ads that promised seamlessness; and that the promises for “trade convoys” and “factions [vying] over territory” did not differ significantly from the actual game features.
And what about those graphics?
“With regard to concerns that the ad exaggerated the quality of in-game graphics, we understood the graphical output of the game would be affected by the specifications of each player’s computer, and considered that consumers would generally be aware of this limitation. We also understood the ad footage had been captured on a PC of broadly typical specification for the platform on which the ad appeared, and that the videos were presented with a lower frame rate than would ordinarily be used when playing the game. From the game and the footage provided by Hello Games (including material from third parties), we understood that the game was capable of producing graphics of much higher quality than that shown in the videos and of comparable quality with the screenshots, and considered that the images used therefore did not exaggerate the game’s performance in this regard.”
In other words, Hello Games escapes clean away, at least this round. The ASA concluded, “Taking into account the above points, we considered that the overall impression of the ad was consistent with gameplay and the footage provided, both in terms of that captured by Hello Games and by third parties, and that it did not exaggerate the expected player experience of the game. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.”