Gamers didn’t punish No Man’s Sky for false advertising, they punished it for having ambition.
No Man’s Sky was a troubled project. It promised a huge amount of content, but only delivered a fraction of that original vision. It was wrong of No Man’s Sky to have falsely advertised, but the industry’s reaction to its failures were counterproductive.
Whilst it didn’t deliver the full experience it intended, the project changed drastically since its debut trailer in 2013. Its gameplay, size, and costs all became vastly more complex. Anything stated back in 2013 about No Man’s Sky is probably not true of the 2016 game.
This is true about a lot – if not all – of highly anticipated games. However, unlike the majority of these experiences, No Man’s Sky was created by a small company. A company who’s vision was far too ambitious for its resources, led by a madman crazed by the limelight.
Unfortunately, the industry has since destroyed Hello Games (the developer) for its failures, refunding anyone who purchased the game whilst the media swarmed at any opportunity to attack.
This never happened with games like Watch Dogs, which also failed to deliver the advertised experience, even though its developer was much larger and more likely to survive after the backlash.
The biggest difference between Watch Dogs and No Man’s Sky is why they were created. Watch Dogs was made to generate a huge business millions of pounds, whilst No Man’s Sky was created with ambition and with the hope of bringing an original experience to gamers. Why did No Man’s Sky get destroyed whilst Watch Dogs received minimal punishment?
If the industry punishes small developers for attempting ambitious projects, how can we expect any original ideas?