The popularity of No Man’s Sky is drifting into a black hole.
The universe-exploring space sim that debuted August 12 on the PC-gaming service Steam (after hitting PlayStation 4 first on August 9), has lost 94 percent of its daily active players in just over 40 days, according to intelligence service GitHyp that has tracked game-performance data using Steam’s API and Twitch since January 2015. In the last several days, the number of people playing No Man’s Sky on Steam has plummeted below 1,000 per hour. And at its peak, the game is only attracting around 2,000 players per hour. That’s down from an all-time high for the procedurally generated sci-fi adventure of 212,000 on its launch day. That’s a drop from the No. 3 most-played game on Steam to No. 132 this past week. While No Man’s Sky certainly had impressive sales numbers in its early days, it is failing to maintain an engaged audience that is crucial if Hello is going to provide ongoing support.
Players are dumping No Man’s Sky for a number of reasons. Many are upset that it is not more like the gameplay trailer Sony showed off at the Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles back in 2014. Others have played for dozens of hours and are finding that they are at a point where they are repeating the same tasks over and over. Many more No Man’s Sky players grew tired of its technical issues and bugs.
Since launch, Hello has gone to work updating No Man’s Sky, but the studio has primarily focused on fixing problems and patching bugs. But to keep players around, a game like this needs regular updates that introduce new items, quests, and creatures. That’s how games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Rust, both open-world survival sims, have maintained their audiences for more than a year. The developers responsible for each of those unfinished games (which are in Steam’s Early Access portal) have updates those games dozens of times. In the case of Ark, Studio Wildcard releases something new almost every other day.
We’ve reached out to Hello Games to ask how it plans to rebuild and maintain an active player base, and we’ll update this story with any new information.
For now, however, No Man’s Sky is looking derelict and abandoned, and it’s difficult to imagine it will have a vibrant future.