‘No Man’s Sky’ PC User Base Drops 90 Percent In Two Weeks Since Launch, Do Missing Features Have Something To Do With It?
No Man’s Sky released earlier this month to rabid hype, yet the game itself was critically panned. The response from the community has been a bit lukewarm — there are many who really enjoy the game, but by and large it’s been received with some trepidation by once ardent fans. The PC release, having been delayed a few extra days after its PlayStation 4 counterpart, was launched with a myriad of issues, ranging from stuttering movement to a complete breakdown of people’s framerates. While developer Hello Games has released patches since launch to counteract these issues, the studio has been largely silent about the other over-arching problems with the title. So it comes as no surprise that reports of the player base abandoning ship have begun to surface.As originally reported by IGN, according to statistics brought to light by Steam Spy, the player base for No Man’s Sky has dropped around 90 percent since its launch on August 12. While the player base numbers here don’t reflect the total number of people playing the game, rather the number playing it concurrently, it is interesting — and a bit telling — to see the numbers drop so drastically. No Man’s Sky on PC had a concurrent player count of 212,613 on launch day, yet as of the time of this article being published, the player count concurrently is only around 17,408. Now, in terms of raw numbers, that’s still impressive, but given the intense amount of hype and scrutiny surrounding the title, it’s a bit telling to see so few comparatively. Also, this isn’t out of the ordinary to see player counts drop like this after release, as IGN points out the similar drop in The Division players, however that was over a two month period versus a two week span.
While these numbers don’t reflect the PlayStation 4 release of No Man’s Sky, as well as GOG.com buyers on PC, it’s still an interesting statistic to look at, especially considering all the discussion surround No Man’s Sky regarding whether or not this was the game consumers were sold on. A lengthy Reddit post was filed in the No Man’s Sky subreddit detailing every feature talked about or shown in the ramp-up leading to No Man’s Sky’s release. While a lot of the features were there, there are many significant selling points that are simply absent from the final release. Jim Sterling, a journalist and a prominent figure in the gaming industry, released an excellent video on the subject, dissecting the situation like no one really had until then.
— You can’t cis with us (@gavgreco) August 30, 2016
In the video, Sterling points out the changes that games typically undergo during their development cycle, and gives clear examples of when the marketing blitz early on doesn’t always match the final product. A lot of the features that aren’t there can simply be argued as being left on the drawing room floor come crunch time. The issue with that assessment, however, is the plethora of interviews even as recent as a few months ago where Sean Murray, the head of Hello Games, can be seen confirming or suggesting their appearance in the release.
No Man’s Sky has been heralded as a technical achievement, but it’s also been dinged due to its overwhelming repetitive and underperforming gameplay elements. While the user base shrinking may be an indication of players abandoning the 18 quintillion planets ready to explore due to lack-luster gameplay and performance issues, it could simply be par for the course. Other games, such as Deus Ex: Makind Divided, which as of this posting has almost double the amount of concurrent users in game (33,432), recently released, drawing users away among other games.
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[Image via Microsoft]