Unless if you’ve been hiding under a neon-colored rock, you likely know that the positive hype surrounding No Man’s Sky prior to release reached planetary levels. However, the post-release attention took a sharp negative turn when gamers quickly realized the game was missing a slew of previously advertised features. As gamers are wont to do when they feel they have been lied to, they took to the internet and complained. There is no scarcity of YouTube videos and Reddit posts lambasting Hello Games, the developer of No Man’s Sky, for essentially lying about their product.
Others went beyond this, and actually complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) based in the UK. They told Polygon they “received several complaints about No Man's Sky advertising and [they] have launched an investigation.” Yes, you read that correctly: the ASA is launching an investigation to see whether or not Hello Games misled customers through false advertisement.
The details of the investigation are being kept under wraps. However, in a Reddit thread discussing the ASA’s investigation, the focus seems to be primarily around the features listed on No Man’s Sky’s Steam page. It is unclear if the investigation will only look into the way No Man’s Sky is presented on Steam, or if it will include the times Sean Murray referenced, on live television, features that are currently not in the game.
What would happen if Hello Games is shown to be guilty of false advertisement? Not a whole lot. At most, Hello Games will have to simply remove the content that's currently advertised, or update their advertisements to more accurately reflect their product. The ASA does not enforce legislation, as they are a non-statutory organization. They can, however, impose sanctions if Hello Games does not comply in the event they are guilty of false advertisement. It is likely Hello Games will change the No Man’s Sky Steam page before the investigation is over, given the amount of negative attention such an investigation can instigate.