Disappointing games aren’t new. But No Man’s Sky popularity has plummeted since its launch on PC less than two weeks ago.
The numbers are eyebrow-raising. When No Man’s Sky launched on Steam on August 12, it reached Skyrim levels of popularity as the biggest game on Steam this year.
Now the public Steam numbers tell a different story. The number of concurrent players as of last week (two weeks after launch) has dropped from over 212,000 to less than 20,000. That’s a drop of 90% of the player base, and numbers have steadily dropped since.
Player drop-off after the initial excitement is normal and expected, but not to that degree. For comparison, other large $60 releases from this year like XCOM 2 and Dark Souls 3 had 64% and 45% drop-offs respectively. Multiplayer title Tom Clancy’s The Division had only a 36% dip in players within the same time frame.
Players are requesting refunds en masse. Rumors have spread about mass refunds being issued, but it seems to be limited primarily to those with technical issues. Given the game’s technical problems (especially on PC), that’s still a significant number.
Steam added a special disclaimer directly on the No Man’s Sky store page reminding buyers of their refund policy. I’ve never seen them do that on an individual game before.
It’s important to note that we don’t know the PlayStation 4 numbers (or refunds). We do know that sales of No Man’s Sky dropped by 81% from the UK Charts, which only includes retail sales.
No Man’s Sky’s legacy is being written by its controversial release. Filled with game-stopping bugs, missing features, and repetitive gameplay, the court of public opinion has written a nasty verdict for the starry-eyed indie game. Pixelkin’s review echoes many of those sentiments. Despite any amount of refunds being issued No Man’s Sky remains a massive success, as well as a sober reminder about pre-ordering games.