PlayStation boss: No Man's Sky marketing 'wasn't a great PR strategy'

September 16, 2016 by Kris Ligman

Sony Computer Entertainment president Shuhei Yoshida admits messaging could have been a lot clearer.

No Man's Sky has drawn criticism for not measuring up to players' expectations -- but how much of that is due to development changing over time, and how much of it can be pinned on inadequate marketing?

Speaking with Eurogamer, PlayStation chief Shuhei Yoshida agrees that No Man's Sky could have been better presented to the public.

"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," says Yoshida. "It wasn't a great PR strategy, because he didn't have a PR person helping him."

In PR-speak, this might be referred to as "going off-message." Murray appeared to overpromise not because he was being willfully deceptive, but because he wasn't playing the public relations game how we're used to seeing it played.

A videogame's scope can often change dramatically from how it was originally envisioned, and in this respect No Man's Sky is no different from many other games. However, players don't always understand how common this practice really is, and through a lack of transparency around development together with often premature pronouncements from designers speaking to the press (think everything Peter Molyneux's ever uttered in public, basically), it can feel like promised features are being ripped away from you, when in fact that's just... how game development works. Scope changes. Things you thought would be easy to program turn out to be actually impossible, or aren't actually any fun once implemented. A flood wipes out your entire studio.

Anyone who works in this industry will tell you that getting a game to ship is a small miracle. That isn't to apologize for No Man's Sky's (or any game's) shortcomings, but it does hopefully place them in context.

"In the end he [No Man's Sky director Sean Murray] is an indie developer," says Yoshida. "I could see the struggle for the developers to get the game out in the state that they wanted."

Despite this, Yoshida says he "really enjoyed" playing the game, even if he could understand why others might feel disappointed. "[The studio's] plan is to continue to develop No Man's Sky features and such, and I'm looking forward to continuing to play the game," he adds.

Aside: I'm still waiting for confirmation on my conspiracy theory that Sean Murray is a Peter Molyneux false flag op.

(h/t Eurogamer.)