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No Man’s Sky popularity soars despite competition from Starfield

No Man’s Sky – which game do you prefer? (Picture: Hello Games)

PS5 owners looking for an alternative to Starfield has led to a major boost in interest for the recently updated No Man’s Sky.

Just last week, Bethesda revealed that more than 6 million people have been playing Starfield, making it the company’s biggest launch ever.

However, it turns out that’s not the only space-faring video game to be enjoying a successful September. No Man’s Sky, which launched seven years ago, has also seen a deserved surge in popularity.

Sean Murray, managing director of developer Hello Games, hasn’t shared any hard player figures, but he said on Twitter that No Man’s Sky is having ‘its biggest month in the last few years’, across all platforms.

While there’s no way to check player stats on consoles, we do know how many people are playing No Man’s Sky on PC via Steam.

Steam Charts reveals that, in the last 30 days, there has been a nearly 96% increase in players, bumping it up to an average of 12,580 people.

The obvious explanation for this is the newest update, No Man’s Sky: Echoes, which arrived towards the end of August, just a week before Starfield’s early access launch.

It’s the biggest update the game’s had all year, adding new story content, a new race of robots, enemy pirate freighters, and a whole lot more.

Unsurprisingly, this has attracted direct comparisons with Starfield, as some have suggested that disappointed Starfield players have jumped ship to No Man’s Sky.

Perhaps the biggest point of comparison is how No Man’s Sky allowed you to seamlessly take off from and land on planets back in 2016, whereas Starfield – a modern launch with Microsoft money behind it – doesn’t allow that.

Unsurprisingly, these comparisons have drawn flack from others who argue that Starfield and No Man’s Sky are completely different games since the former is a traditional role-playing game and the latter is a survival game.

That’s pretty disingenuous though, as the exploration in Starfield is extremely similar to No Man’s Sky, including scanning flora and fauna, and collecting rare minerals for use in crafting.

Much of the increase is likely to be PlayStation 5 owners looking for a similar experience to Starfield and, thanks to all the many expansions, No Man’s Sky is an arguably superior experience.

However, Starfield’s average player count is roughly 206,931 according to Steam Charts, roughly 16 times more than No Man’s Sky’s – although it does seem as if Starfield has already peaked.

Regardless of what’s caused the boost in players, Murray and Hello Games are clearly grateful for it, and fans of the game seem just as happy to hear it’s doing well.

No Man’s Sky is available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, and PC.

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