Both Hello Games and Valve have been asked to defend the use of materials on the No Man’s Sky Steam page by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA are an independent UK body whose role is to regulate the content of advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing in the UK.
Their process involves investigating complaints made by consumers, and ruling on whether the relevant advertising complies with advertising standards code. Broadly speaking, this is a determination of whether advertising has been misleading or inaccurate.
Reddit user ‘AzzerUK’ was one of several people who filed a complaint with the ASA over the advertising and marketing of No Man’s Sky, particularly on the game’s Steam page. He has recently received confirmation that the ASA are investigating the matter, and have contacted Hello Games and Valve.
The No Man’s Sky Steam page features trailers and screenshots which, the complaints claim, are not representative of gameplay. Specifics can be seen in the link above, and include things like “large-scale ship combat” and “structures and buildings as pictured”, referring to aspects not present or altered in the release version.
AzzerUK cites the official response to his complaint, which notes: “The outcomes of ASA investigations are cross-applicable to other marketing making the same claims, so any decision reached in relation to the Steam page would apply to other advertising for No Man’s Sky where the same (or materially similar) claims appear.”
The ASA have few (if any) punitive powers, but, if upheld, Valve and/or Hello Games could be compelled to remove the misleading advertising from the UK Steam store page. It may also set an interesting precedent for future action to be taken against publishers and studios who partake in this practice (such as Konami’s insistence on using PS4 videos and images for the graphically inferior PC version of PES every single year).