Arts & Entertainment

The Consequences of “Hype Culture”

It has been two months since the release of independent developer Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky, and since then the game has been met with countless complaints and criticisms regarding content — or lack thereof. When it was first announced back in 2013, the creator, Sean Murray, was responsible for the promotion of the game. For the next three years, Murray discussed the space simulation and action-adventure game in great detail. He talked about how much content there was to experience and how long it would take to explore every inch of the game. Kotaku has reported that No Man’s Sky player Jorgen Fernandez spent 30 hours exploring only one planet. In a game where there are reportedly more than 18 quintillion planets there is enough content to keep any player busy.

However, excitement for the game quickly turned into disappointment. When players finally managed to get their hands on, they found it offered very little diversity. Out of the many different planets that exist, most of them share many similarities, such as familiar geographic landscapes, the same wildlife placements and the same resources that can be mined. Players quickly become bored with the game because each planet they visit is so familiar.

Early on in the marketing cycle Murray said that a multiplayer would be available, but the chance to utilize it became a rare possibility. Players would then have the option to interact with each other if they ever managed to encounter each other. Near the game’s launch, Murray wrote in a tweet “To be super clear – No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game. Please don’t go in looking for that experience.” With the lack of diversity in planet settings and the lack of multiplayer opportunities, players began to lose interest in the game. On Steam, the PC platform, it was recorded that 90 percent of the player count had dropped within two weeks of the game’s launch.

The resulting negative press for the game caused the publishers of the game, Sony Interactive Entertainment, to get involved. In a Sept. 16 interview with Eurogamer, Sony Interactive Entertainment President Shuhei Yoshida commented on the current status of No Man’s Sky, saying he “understands the criticism.” He later told Eurogamer that Murray’s promotion of the game “wasn’t a great PR strategy.”

No Man’s Sky serves as an example for why hype can be a negative thing. Hype is something irrational. It forms expectations for a product that hasn’t even been released yet and is based off what little information is already out there. In the case of No Man’s Sky, Murray was advertising the game as something more than it actually was. With a hype build-up that lasted three years, such a quick and negative response from players is to be expected.

When making a decision to purchase something, make sure you know what you are getting. Look at reviews, trailers, previews and other forms of information available for the product and try to make a decision based on more than just hype.