Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hello Games Under Investigation for False Advertising

I genuinely feel bad for Hello Games and their staff. The team set out to make a dynamic, ground-breaking title that could potentially change the way developers create future games. They wanted something that could keep players hooked forever. A galaxy with billions of planets, all containing different lifeforms and fauna to explore, sure sounds impressive. The creator, Sean Murray, was really into it. He offered a lot of promises for the game, but not all of them delivered.

While the game had one of the biggest releases on Steam, in terms of sales, it has since dropped drastically. A number of outlets reported an increase in refund requests for the game claiming false advertising or excessive bugs making the game virtually unplayable (as was the case for the PC version).

The number of complaints have piled up. Now the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK's independent regulator of advertising standards for all forms of media, are now investigating both Hello Games and Steam. Neither has responded to the ASA's request, but both are required to do so, or they will face hefty fines. There isn't a set timeline for an answer, so we may be waiting for a while.

The claims against Hello Games and Steam include videos and screenshots not accurately depicting the final product. The store pages lack information about the graphic quality and in-game content such as loading screens, trade convoys, and territory disputes with other factions. And videos from previews showcased different qualities to AI's that are not seen in the final product: for example in the previews, animals would react to the player as they walk by. In the final version? This is a rare occurrence and almost never happens.

No Man's Sky is a beautiful concept that fell flat. The team needed more time to make Murray's grand vision come to life. The ideas were great, but the development period would had to have been extended beyond what they were promising to consumers. Hello Games had to cut corners to get the product out on the market.

It's a crappy situation to be in. This will most likely sink Hello Games, and that's a shame. Great ideas. Bad execution. And the hype man, Sean Murray, needs to pay the piper.


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