clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sony exec criticizes Hello Games’ marketing for No Man’s Sky

Yoshida likes the game despite the broken promises

No Man's Sky dinosaur
This is now one of the more controversial screenshots of No Man’s Sky.
Hello Games
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The narrative around No Man’s Sky has solidified in the five weeks since its release: Many players believe that they were misled by the marketing for the game, that developer Hello Games promised more than it delivered with the open-ended space exploration and survival game. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, said in an interview with Eurogamer that while he "really enjoyed" what he’s played of No Man’s Sky, he feels for those players.

"I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one," Yoshida told Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show. He was referring to Hello Games studio head Sean Murray, the public face of No Man’s Sky.

"It wasn’t a great PR strategy"

Yoshida said that the massive day-one patch for No Man’s Sky made him sympathize with Hello Games’ efforts to make good on its promises. But he believes that the developers’ promotional plan for the game didn’t serve them well because of the incredible, unsustainable amount of hype that it built up. Yoshida blamed the situation on Hello Games being an indie team — an indie team that didn’t know how to market its game appropriately, and should’ve had a public relations apparatus on hand for guidance.

"It wasn’t a great PR strategy, because he didn’t have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer," said Yoshida.

Of course, Sony did its fair share of hyping up No Man’s Sky, giving the game prime placement at multiple PlayStation Experience conventions and E3s. The company marketed No Man’s Sky as if it were a first-party PlayStation 4 title, even though it only published the disc-based PS4 version — Hello Games developed and published the digital versions for PS4 and Windows PC.

Yoshida noted Hello Games’ promises of expanding No Man’s Sky with new features, and said he’s "looking forward to continuing to play the game." Some players are fed up, however, and they have no recourse if they bought No Man’s Sky digitally — try as they might, they are not receiving exceptions to the standard PlayStation Store and Steam refund policies from Sony or Valve.