For all that No Man’s Sky is a technical marvel, it’s been a bit of a disaster on every other front. It seems that 18 quintillion planets doesn’t automatically make a game fun; recent stats show that less than one thousand concurrent people are now playing it on Steam.
Before No Man’s Sky was released, the hype surrounding the game was out of control – part of the reason why Hello Games’ Sean Murray received death threats when it was delayed. But the promise of a universe that you’ll never want to leave has fallen flat. Less than 1000 concurrent players just over one month after launch isn’t good for any title, and has put it below the non-English language Nobunaga's ambition: Souzou SengokuRisshiden. At its peak, No Man’s Sky hit over 212,000 concurrent players.
As you can see from the chart below, the number of people playing the game dropped dramatically in the few short weeks following its release. The situation wasn’t helped by the non-existent multiplayer element, which Murray said No Man’s Sky would include.
At the end of August, it was reported that a large number of people who had purchased the game were asking for refunds, despite having played it for many hours. The situation led to Steam’s announcement that no special refund exemptions are available for No Man’s Sky.
Murray promised that future DLC would add more to the game, and would basically give players more to do. There was also talk of base-building and being able to own much larger ships. However, the usually active Murray has been quiet on Twitter since August 18, when he tweeted about the team’s focus on customer support. It may be that Hello Games is busy bringing new features to No Man’s Sky, but the silence is worrying.
We're totally focused on customer support right now. Then we'll move onto improving and adding features to the game ?— Sean Murray (@NoMansSky) August 18, 2016
It would be great if Hello Games does manage to produce something that brings players back to the game, but it'll take something pretty special. Murray said before its release that No Man's Sky would be “super divisive” and “not for everyone,” he was certainly right about that.