It's no secret that No Man's Sky has had a rough go of it. When the game launched and failed to fulfill its enormous potential, gamers were quick to turn sour. This led to it becoming a bit of a meme, an example of what over-promising on a game looks like. Heck, even we at The Gamer weren't above cracking jokes at its expense. But now things have changed. No Man's Sky has gone multiplayer, and the numbers show people are coming back.
These curious gamers are coming back to see the NEXT update. The big draw of NEXT is that players can finally interact with one another. Explorers can team up to find new worlds, or become space pirates. The worlds themselves also got an upgrade, with more stunning visuals that are sure to give players more incentive to explore. Finally, underwater base-building adds a literal new level to the game. All of this was apparently enough to entice over 40,000 people to return to the game.
41,861 concurrent players were logged in on Steam, PC Gamer found, which is the largest amount of players the game has seen since launch. For the record, the launch saw over 200 thousand players logging in at the same time. That number quickly dropped when the game revealed itself to be a disappointment. When last year's Atlas Rises update came out, only 20,000 players were around to see it.
While 41,861 doesn't come close to the launch numbers, it does give No Man's Sky fans cause to hope. To be completely blunt, the game has lost any chance of being the big deal it was when it was announced at 2015's E3. But if it can rally enough players with the NEXT update it might just achieve cult status. That could buy it another year or two of life.
When PC Gamer wrote its take on the update, No Man's Sky was the tenth most played game on Steam. That's good news for that cult following. For the rest of us, it might just be enough to throw aside doubt and give the game a try. It is 50% off at the moment...