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- No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky created remarkable buzz at release. It wasn't all positive, but nonetheless it garnered a wealth of attention which has driven it to over two million sales within two weeks across both PC and PS4. If nothing else, the game has been financially successful.
But as with many games that face controversy at launch, its popularity has been short-lived. Data suggests that despite strong sales at launch, there has been a massive falloff of purchase momentum. It's so bad that SteamSpy estimates that it has only sold around 50,000 units during the past week, a far cry from the 700,000 of its launch week. And it's only dwindling further. A couple days had such few purchases that the standard deviation allows for it to have actually lost total sales thanks to widespread return requests.
Returns have been extremely common on Steam. Its customer reviews are currently mixed with 24,953 out of its 50,000 reviews being negative. These reviews point at unfulfilled promises by the development team, gameplay repetition, performance issues, and bugs.
Perhaps even more concerning is how much time its playerbase is logging. For the days following launch it ranked as a top five most popular game on Steam. Just two weeks later it now ranks 20th with a current player count comparable to Clicker Heroes, Terraria, and Euro Truck Simulator 2, games that didn't have the luxury of multi-million dollar ad campaigns and late night show appearances..
Additionally, a quick look at hourly concurrent players since launch shows that its player count during the past few days is around 85% less than launch (127,224 versus ~20,000).
It's normal for there to be some degree of diminished playtime as a game moves away from launch week, but this rate is well beyond anything we've seen in the past year. Not even Battleborn, another extreme example, saw this sort of falloff.
Despite widespread negative attention aimed at how No Man's Sky is missing content promised by the development team, Hello Games founder Sean Murray has been silent. More than anything, this is what has agitated consumers. While his attorneys might be telling him to keep quiet in order to avoid placing additional attention on the game's shortcomings, it's probably doing more harm than good at this point.
Thus, No Man's Sky has been a commonly pirated game. Major torrent sites have logged more than 100,000 downloads since launch, further hurting total sales potential.
In our review of No Man's Sky we found the game to demonstrate the neat ideas and promise that earned it so much attention in the first place, but at the cost of repetition and a general sense of unfulfilling gameplay loops.