No Man's Sky under investigation for false advertising


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has confirmed that after receiving "several complaints" it's launching an investigation into the game No Man's Sky.

The investigation is focusing in particular on how No Man's Sky is being advertised on the Steam store, with the videos and screenshots being reported by players as unrepresentative of the actual game.

Some complainants are saying, as revealed by a Reddit user, that the assets used on the Steam store show more advanced animal and ship-flying behaviour as well as overall better graphical quality than actually features in the launch version of the game.

As the investigation is ongoing the ASA is unable to give any further comment on what's happening but it has contacted both Valve and No Man's Sky developer, Hello Games, asking them to respond to questions surrounding the way the game is being advertised.

What you see might not be what you get

If Hello Games and Valve voluntarily remove the assets that have attracted complaints, the ASA will have no reason to pursue its investigation any further.

If they decide to take no action at all, though, the ASA does have the power to not only withdraw advertisements, it can also impose sanctions

Released after a long period where player anticipation and expectations were raised extremely high, No Man's Sky has attracted criticism for not being representative of the promised game, most notably with regards to the existence of multiplayer content.

Though the nature of game development is that a title will change from its original concept (whether due to unforeseen limitations or changes in design direction) it is undeniably problematic that a developer can continue to lean so heavily on outdated materials to promote and sell its game.

It's perhaps time to draw a line between reasonably igniting a player's imagination and misleading them.

We have contacted Hello Games and Valve for comment and will update with any response they are able to make as the investigation continues.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.