The controversy of the much-anticipated video game No Man’s Sky has become quite massive. As the fans have complained over the numerous discrepancies between the trailers and the actual game, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has launched an investigation, trying to put the name of the Hello Games product under the verdict of false advertising.
No Man’s Sky is one out of many products which have been almost compromised by their own advertising campaigns, but one of the considerably fewer such products to actually undergo an investigation. The investigation is said to be quite a difficult one to conclude, as the game is procedurally generated. As a result, it provides different experiences and outcomes to every player. The animals or universes the players have been disappointed by might not even be discovered by the investigators of this game; so the decision of the ASA to invest in such an examination is quite interesting.
Let’s look at the whole situation from a more general perspective. How many times haven’t advertising campaigns misled people before?
From blockbusters such as Suicide Squad, promoting Jared Leto’s Joker as a main character, to the most mundane vacuum cleaner which has been ‘scientifically proven’ to clean the house in three seconds and a half. It is a part of life to be disappointed by something we bought, only for it not to live up to our expectations. It’s all about the effect of advertising, and the way it guides its audience towards the goal of purchasing it.
This guidance has become quite an art over the years. This ‘art of advertising’ consists in emphasising the most convenient features of the product. Inevitably, this sometimes exaggerates them to the point where they aren’t identical to the truth, or are simply ‘forgetting’ to mention something integral to the object of interest.
The omission of Jon Snow from the advertising campaign of the sixth season of Game of Thrones to avoid spoiling the cliffhanger of his fate, (and enhance the enigma with only one intriguing poster) is one example of the power advertising has over its viewers.
Giving the target audience a one-sided presentation which renders something as incredible obviously leads to high hopes. In turn, this leads to an insane level of speculation (especially with cases like No Man’s Sky). The only problem with the so-called ‘hype’ is that it doesn’t really alleviate the impact of the moment when the buyer is given the 360° perspective. In the No Man’s Sky situation, many details looked differently, and the anticipated grand space wasn’t exactly as the fans were breathlessly expecting it to be.
This is what happened to No Man’s Sky. It became a victim of its own advertising. The expectations were too high, the speculation was too intense and consequently, it became impossible for the product to deliver on these expectations. Maybe it’s not a legal matter, maybe it’s only one of those (many) cases in which advertisements juggle with the truth to achieve their aim.
If No Man’s Sky proves anything, it is that the overall outlook really changes everything; advertisements are hoodwinking and so conflicts appear. Despite this, No Man’s Sky is certainly not the only product to advertise in this manner, and certaintly won’t be the last. Even if it’s normal for the players to be put off by the discrepancies, maybe they shouldn’t let themselves be robbed of the experience of the game itself and just enjoy it for what it is.
Check out a trailer for the game, and judge it for yourself below: