Not too long ago, the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) announced that it would investigate Hello Games for false advertisement as it relates to No Man’s Sky. The group received a large number of complaints from consumers pointing towards trailers and alleging false advertisement.
The ASA has announced that Hello Games did falsely advertise No Man’s Sky. Here’s one of the trailers in question before we get to the meat of their report:
The ASA decided that Hello Games didn’t commit false advertisement
Here’s where things get interesting. The report from the ASA includes 10 points of false advertisement allegation, Hello Games’ response and the ASA’s ruling. Here are all 10 points, summed up perfectly by Polygon:
User interface and aiming systems
Hello Games: The appearance changed, but not the operation.
ASA: While the interface design underwent cosmetic changes since the ad footage, the ASA sees them as “superficial and incidental components in relation to the core gameplay mechanics and features.”
Hello Games: Video was provided showing buildings and structures similar to those seen in the ads, including large bodies of water.
ASA: The structures are consistent with what was shown in the ads.
Hello Games: The larger the battle the more unusual and harder to find they are.
ASA: Provided footage shows larger battles in action.
Spaceships and sentinel behavior
Hello Games: Provided footage replicated similar behavior to what was found in the ads.
ASA: The ASA wasn’t able to find footage or replicate a ship flying under a rock formation, but this missing element was found insignificant.
Hello Games: Footage shows similar animal behavior to what was seen in the ads.
ASA: No gameplay or footage shows animals moving large trees, as was seen in the ad, but that is considered a “fleeting and incidental scene” that wouldn’t likely mislead a consumer into buying the game.
Hello Games: The ad was created using a computer that matched Steam’s survey of typical user hardware. The videos were uploaded with a resolution of 1080p at 30 fps using anti-aliasing.
ASA: While two screenshots showing water and a type of illumination seemed to by in a higher fidelity than found in the game, the ad footage in general shows a quality that can be not only replicated by bettered.
Speed of galaxy warping
Hello Games: The warping time is impacted by the computer used and the complexity of the galaxy being warped to. The ad shows a warp to a sparse system with a single planet, one moon and hardly any life which takes three to five seconds. That warp was not edited and they provided an example of a five second warp to the ASA.
ASA: While the ASA experienced warp times that too as long as 16 seconds, they also found that warps to less complex systems took less time. In the context of a general gameplay ad, they felt that the short warp was not misleading.
No loading screens
Hello Games: The environments and characteristics were generated in real time while a player moved through the game, including when they warped between systems, during which time the player could continue to interact with the game.
ASA: While the warp screen is used to give the game time to generate a new system and could be viewed by some as a sort of loading screen, it did not represent an interruption to the gameplay experience. Warping is also not used nearly as much as other systems in the game and is shown in an ad.
Hello Games: Footage shows trade ships warping into systems after travelling between solar systems.
ASA: The feature exists in the game.
Factions vie for territory
Hello Games: Solar systems are each occupied by one of three factions. Factions sometimes tell players about their dislike of other factions and players can take part in fights between factions.
ASA: Noting the footage and Hello Game’s explanation, the description doesn’t differ materially from the gameplay features.
There you have it. As the ASA ruled, “no further action required.”