No Man’s Sky Backlash Represents A Possible Consumer Turning Point
No Man’s Sky may be Steam’s most poorly reviewed game, but that doesn’t reflect the game itself. If Hello Game’s product was merely disappointing, maybe even bad, no one would have been talking about the game this late after release. Reaction to the game speaks volumes about the state of the modern industry, at least from the consumers point of view.
Some critics and publications may have went into overdrive trying to defend the game, but the consumers had no time for it. No Man’s Sky was sold on lies, not just a few white ones either. From features being promised then revoked only to be subsequently hidden under stickers on printed copies, there’s a lot to be infuriated about.
Sean Murray had teased, promised and dazzled the masses with his showcasing of No Man’s Sky. Flashy buzz terms married with veiled answers to questions along with simple bright eyed charm, it was hard to resist the hype. His beguiling nature helped paper over the cracks in most of No Man’s Sky presence across various expos.
When you market a game on hype and charm, people become invested. At the end of the day, your’re still asking for a full price entry fee from the customer. This forms a strong connection between the game and the player, which sounds good…assuming the game is what was promised.
The sheer backlash towards No Man’s Sky is justified. Consumers didn’t feel underwhelmed with the game, they felt lied to. It’s not a nice feeling, sparking instant bitterness within the victim. Comparing what was promised, to what was delivered, leaves some truly mind blowing realisations. How could a game be sold on that many lies? A game worked on by the ‘indie’ scene we were told to love and cherish so much. Why did only a handful of well known critics try to ask the hard questions prior to release?
Steam’s user review system is infamously brutal. The boiling pot of hobbyist reviewers, dank meme addicts and trolls, no game is safe from its taint. No Man’s Sky undoubtedly has a number of troll reviews on its store page, like any other game. The primary factor in this store page’s review is just how many reviews consist of concise critiques on the game, rather than blunt ‘F**K DIS GAME’.
No Man’s Sky represents the very worst of modern video games. It’s not rare for games to be marketed and hyped on lies, just ask Bethseda’s Todd Howard or Gearbox Software’s Randy Pitchford. No Man’s Sky is the folk in the road, perhaps even the enlightenment the video game consumer has needed.
In the age of social media and blogging, consumer reactions/impression carry much more weight. It’s why the days of sites like IGN and Gametrailers dictating popular opinion are over. Streamers, Youtubers and those with large social media followings are the new frontier. Those same people are often consumers who have happened to fallen into their own place of power.
Could Sean Murray’s little bundle of lies turn out to be an important game for reasons he didn’t plan? Hello Games have since closed down the Reddit for No Man’s Sky, all while they rarely seem to comment on the game itself. Robotic statements that never answer anything, silence from Murray himself. It’s been a disaster for a game that was seen as the darling of the industry not that long ago.
Consumers have expressed their displeasure with a product they bought in good faith. Could the industry learn from the follies Hello Games? You’d hope so.