ASA

Just a quick note about this, really. Sort of loathe to cover it but there’s a lot of devs and affiliated folks with little idea of how this stuff works so yeah, a quick note.

I have no idea what the internet thinks the ASA are but they’re not the fuzz and they’re not likely to come round and slap anyone on the cheeks when they can work with someone to make changes instead.

So.

That they’re investigating a thing doesn’t mean there’s any validity to the claims they’re investigating, it just means they’ve received enough word on them (or convincing enough word on them) for them to be worth looking into. So a lot of the sillier end of the stuff included (water doesn’t flow when it absolutely does) will take about five minutes for everyone to clear up.

The most likely worst case scenario here is that they’ll work with the advertiser to bring them into line with stuff. Which more realistically means asking them to remove stuff, tweak stuff and swap stuff round until the ASA is happy with it. In the case of No Man’s Sky – swap a video round, some screenshots and maybe edit the body text a bit. The chances of this going to any sort of ruling aren’t impossible but they’re definitely pretty slim and unlikely. So with that in mind, the chances of anyone hearing anything outside of the edits being made and a ‘we’re done’ letter to the folks complaining are also pretty slim. The sanctions themselves (if it should come to that) are also, well go look.

The chances of any of this having any sort of long lasting or strong effect on the videogame industry as a whole are somewhere close to zero too. No-one is going to look at this and go ‘ooh, quaking in mah boots’, sorry. It’s a nice dream but that’s not really the domain of the ASA procedures and most companies are, for whatever reason, usually very careful with this stuff. Also, WRT Valve and store pages – there’s only so much they can and will do reviewing them. I don’t see that changing by much any time soon, at best they’ll strongly recommend that you’re careful with your media and copy and disavow as much as they can and plop it on the dev/publisher’s head because there’s little reason to do much else. They’ll likely continue what they do currently and that is make sure the page conforms to their display standards and whatever but maybe, if they’ve got some downtime and data shows this is a massive problem, they’ll lift a finger further. I wouldn’t count on it.

I also wouldn’t count on it taming marketing either. Because marketing. Right?

Mind you, also fairly sure this is all a pile more stress right now than anyone needs so fingers crossed everyone is staying as safe and comfortable as they can be right now.