No Man’s Sky: A Tale of Broken Promises

In this blog, I am not afraid to point out a bad advertising campaign for what really is a mediocre game and ‘No Man’s Sky’ is right up there on my bad list. Games often promise huge and revolutionary game play experiences for players before they release to entice their target market, however there is nothing worse than a broken promise, it instantly surrounds a game in negative stigma, and No Man’s Sky is no exception.

So, from an advertising perspective, what actually happened during this campaign? Well, let’s start with the gameplay trailer, if you have not seen it yet, I do encourage you watch below, the rest of this post will then make a lot more sense.

When examining this original gameplay trailer, it is clear to see just how much potential this game had. The open world concept is a very popular game genre and the response from the gaming community was overwhelmingly positive. This was a fair response as the game looked spectacular. However, as you more perceptive ones may have already guessed from the title of this blog, everything hit the fan for No Man’s Sky rather quickly.

Business Insider produced an article that I feel very accurately depicts the consumer reaction after this game came out. The article goes on to explain how frustrated the community was about the “overpromised features” that appeared in the game play trailer but were missing from the final product. Specifically in the UK, a campaign was launched to have the advertisements for the game removed for containing “Misleading advertising”. This is a hugely damaging claim for a game developer and it can take years to recover from. The claim was denied in the courts and the ads stayed active, however the community was already outraged. The response from the developer t these claims was “The game generates a different user experience for every player so it is almost impossible to re-create the same game play from the footage”. This is all good on paper, however thousands of players came forward after that claim saying none of their game experiences were even close to what was advertised. So, what went wrong from an advertising standpoint and why was it classified as a bad advertising campaign?

The gaming industry is an incredibly competitive environment, every game developer attempts to come out with the next revolutionary game that changes the landscape forever. No Man’s Sky was advertised as the next new thing. A game to change open world games forever. As I stated, false advertising is not only illegal but can cripple any chance of a game becoming successful. Once it happens, it puts the consumers completely in the drivers seat, demanding updates and spreading bad press about a game that is very hard to come back from. The developers of No Man’s Sky were put in this position, they were so hell bent on creating the next amazing game that their advertisements got out of hand. It is damaging to reputations and when you are a game developer, reputation is everything. Advertising needs to be consistent and truthful to consumers, completely transparent and this is where No Man’s Sky fell down.

I am sure many of you have since played the game and formed your own opinions of the game and how it has evolved since its release. I would love to hear your own opinion on this controversial topic. Please comment below so I can do a follow up post.

Until next time, stay classy.

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