Home Gaming No Man’s Sky didn’t have a “great PR strategy”

No Man’s Sky didn’t have a “great PR strategy”

2 min read


No Man’s Sky is a terribly ambitious game. Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games have always had lofty goals for their space exploration game – and not all of them have come to fruition. A great many users are disappointed with the released product, which they claim is missing a checklist of promised features.

Ultimately, the game crumbled under its own hype and ambition. That’s the power of marketing perfectly displayed though. According to Sony Worldwide boss though, No Man’s Sky’s PR strategy wasn’t very good.

“It wasn’t a great PR strategy,” president of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida told Eurogamer at this year’s TGS. “I had the opportunity to play the game right before launch – and I restarted playing the game on launch day with the Day One patch – so I could see the struggle for the developers to get the game out in the state that they wanted.”

“I understand some of the criticisms especially Sean Murray is getting, because he sounded like he was promising more features in the game from day one.

“It wasn’t a great PR strategy, because he didn’t have a PR person helping him, and in the end he is an indie developer. But he says their plan is to continue to develop No Man’s Sky features and such, and I’m looking forward to continuing to play the game.”

There’s a very good reason that most of the developers we speak to have PR handlers, and why so many developers go through media training; it’s to avoid exactly the sort of scenario that No Man’s Sky found itself in. I have to feel a bit of sympathy for the small team at Hello Games, toiling for years to make something they were sure people would love – only for it to devolve in to a hurricane of bad press.

I do, however, feel equally bad for those who bought the game under false pretences. Despite the tumultuous negative reception, Yoshida is “super happy with the game actually, and I’m amazed with the sales the game has gotten”.

Last Updated: September 19, 2016


  1. Alien Emperor Trevor

    September 19, 2016 at 08:37

    But guys, there’s no such thing as bad press. Or so I hear. The game sold like hot cakes because of their PR strategy. Win! Unless you want repeat business.


    • Allykhat

      September 19, 2016 at 09:22

      Thats the kicker here. Every new release Hello Games try now will be met with the same, if not more, criticism. They really screwed themselves in that regard.

      Personally, I will never be supporting Hello Games again.

      Was no Man’s sky a good indie game? Sure.
      Was a good AAA title (priced as much)? No. We were lied to. There is no way around it, we were flat out lied to. The case would have been a bit different if Sean came out and addressed the community and put dates on the missing content because then the expectations would at least be managed to some degree and would have calmed the majority down. Right now, we still have no idea what is coming to the game or when it is coming OR even IF the content is coming. I was of the unlucky bunch where Sony flat out refused my refund so I’m stuck with the game unfortunately.


  2. Umar

    September 19, 2016 at 08:39

    Both sides are to blame for this tbh. Murray promised a lot, but Sony no doubt played on the hype as well. To be honest, Sony’s PR has been just as bad recently


  3. Original Heretic

    September 19, 2016 at 08:57

    I don’t at all feel sorry for the gamers who went out and bought this based on the hype alone.


    Unless the game company making the game is CD Projekt Red. Then go ahead, pre-order!


    • Dutch Matrix

      September 19, 2016 at 09:43

      Yup! Right until Cyberpunk releases and it is not the next Witcher that all is expecting it to be. Gamers are a fickle bunch!


      • Original Heretic

        September 19, 2016 at 09:47

        To be honest, I don’t at all expect it to be the next Witcher. Witcher 3 was by far the best of the 3. They took all they’d learnt from the other 2 and made 3 one of the best games ever.
        For me, Witcher 1 was better than 2. They dropped the ball a bit with 2 by trying to do a few things differently.
        So I expect them make a couple of blunders with Cyberpunk. But I reckon it’s still going to be a really fun game to play. And if there’s a sequel, it’s going to build on the 1st and be even better.


      • Archdruid Kromas

        September 19, 2016 at 09:50

        W3 was so extremely meh I hope it is nothing like that. Also they need to avoid open world.


        • Dutch Matrix

          September 19, 2016 at 09:54

          Ha! I have sunk a few hours into Geralt’s latest adventure and I have to admit I never got into it too much. Not like I did Skyrim. Wandering about murdering Draughrs and bandits? Best of times!


          • Archdruid Kromas

            September 19, 2016 at 09:56

            I think everyone is sick and tired of open world. Gimme a Mass Effect styled choose your own path but still linear type thing any day of the week right about now.

            Hoping ME:A won’t be too open world.

        • Raptor Gilbert

          September 19, 2016 at 12:47

          Open world was fine and cyberpunk will be open world and larger than witcher 3.


          • Archdruid Kromas

            September 19, 2016 at 13:01

            Well then I am out. Open world is causing burnout in a lot of people I know and I can understand it. Even original openworld IP’s like Fallout are getting a bit much these days.

          • Raptor Gilbert

            September 19, 2016 at 13:10

            Ok have a good one ???? fallout like every Bethesda game these days only survive because of modding. If modding didnt happen then people would not play there games as much.

          • Archdruid Kromas

            September 19, 2016 at 13:30

            Most people would agree that because fallout had no linear pathing that people got bored of it due to the main story being non essential. Case in point


          • Raptor Gilbert

            September 28, 2016 at 06:02

            Lmao i love your picture response. That is so fallout. Lmao

      • Deceased

        September 19, 2016 at 10:56

        Cannot WAIT for Cyberpunk – it’s going to be magnificent… Also – even if it’s not – I’ll still be a CDPR supporter and fan till I die – JUST because, not once, since The Witcher 1 – have I ever felt like they’re doing a cash-grab or anything douchebaggish for that matter ( and I bet I’ll forgive them the first time they do it – but I doubt they will 😀 )


  4. Pieter Kruger

    September 19, 2016 at 08:59

    But but surely Sony that were “treating this game as a 1st party exclusive” is to blame for the bad PR? ROFL, nice job Sony, throwing Murray under the bus……


    • Fox1 - Retro

      September 19, 2016 at 10:33

      Same goes for the fanbois. They fell hook, line and sinker for the PR hype.


  5. Archdruid Kromas

    September 19, 2016 at 09:08

    It was an amazing PR strategy!

    Why do I say that? Because PR is designed to increase sales and that is exactly what it did. They left things so vague that the hype just pretty much printed cash for them on a piss poor game.

    I call it the Apple strategy as it also creates a fanboy culture that pretty much assaults any negative critizism.


    • Spy Master Tokashi

      September 19, 2016 at 09:41

      It is a very poor strategy especially if you want to build a consistent consumer base. What they have done is they have lost future sales.

      It is not an amazing PR strategy because it gave them sales in the short term but in the long term it wont last and if you know anything about business, that is way more important.

      Look at Activision – Call of Duty
      EA – Sport Games, Battlefield etc.

      Every year they release the same crap but they have millions of guaranteed sales because they have a solid consumer base that will buy it.

      Hello Games had the opportunity to do that and because they LIED to the public and released a half baked game, they have lost the trust and respect from the public EVEN if they sell more than 2 million copies, they will not be successful in the long run.


      • Archdruid Kromas

        September 19, 2016 at 09:49

        They have loads of super fans willing to assault reviewers … they are just fine and will still sell.

        Also sports games market to a slightly different audience and only ever need to suplly the base amount of features that have not changed in the sport for ages.

        As for CoD and BF. I am really not sure how they are still a thing. Reskin them and change the names and they fail horribly as evidenced by Battlefront.

        But if you really wanna see how bad releases based on vague or twisted PR changes nothing then just gander over at Gearbox. Thgey made one good game and a mediocre sequal then proceeded to mess up not one but two beloved franchises butchering them completely and even told off the fanbases. They are still raking in money.


  6. Spy Master Tokashi

    September 19, 2016 at 09:32

    PR strategy? WHAT?

    Since when do you need a PR strategy to sell a game, just do not lie about what you have to offer and be transparent with your customers.

    How can you use the INDIE DEVELOPER excuse?

    Sean Murray is a tool. You do not need a PR strategy if you do not lie about your fking game … Sony and Hello Games are a bunch of idiots.

    If Sean Murray told everyone that the game does not have the following features because they could not sort out the issues or they are still busy with it, I believe they would not be in this mess. They kept quiet after they talked so much BS, I have never seen a company so quiet after a game release …


  7. Dutch Matrix

    September 19, 2016 at 09:40

    A great way these guys can save face is to do what The Sims 4 has done: When that game released, it felt as thin as a cheap brand of Checkers toilet paper.
    But as time went on, they patched in new features/stuff (Not referring to expansions or add-ons)
    It SLOWLY became one of the best Sims games I have played, if not THE best.
    I know it is not ideal, but these changes should make the guy that forked out on day one for the game have a pretty decent game to get into in the future?
    Before you rake me over the coals then crucify me: Not saying that this should be the way to go for all games.


    • Archdruid Kromas

      September 19, 2016 at 09:53

      Why rake you over the coals when I can just drop you into the pool and then delete the ladder 😛

      Oh god I just made a Sims referance …. now I really hate you!


      • Dutch Matrix

        September 19, 2016 at 09:58

        I’ll let you know: Sims can get out of the pool now with no ladder… 😛


        • Archdruid Kromas

          September 19, 2016 at 11:07

          Damn … guess I will stick to sim loot grind for now. 🙂


      • ??????? ????? ™

        September 19, 2016 at 09:59



  8. Fox1 - Retro

    September 19, 2016 at 10:21

    Having a PR a PR strategy for an Indie game is as bad as it gets.


  9. Raptor Rants

    September 19, 2016 at 11:41

    Why do you need PR to help you understand the following:

    1) If it’s going to be available at launch, state it.
    2) If not? State it.
    3) State what your game will be at launch
    4) State what you want to build up to AFTER launch.

    It’s really not that hard


    • Raptor Rants

      September 19, 2016 at 11:45

      Secondly to that, I don’t believe anyone when they say they should have had a PR person involved to avoid confusion.

      Really that is a poor excuse at best. You say something will be there, it better be there. If it’s not planned for launch, then you need to state that.

      Believing that you should technically never run in to someone in the universe is one thing only to be screwed over by RNG and having exactly that happen. That one can understand.
      But saying you can see others and have an MP experience with others in-game when in actual fact you can’t is not due to bad PR. That’s due to blatant lying of your product.


  10. Raptor Gilbert

    September 19, 2016 at 13:08

    The pr doesnt matter for a boring repetitive and lackluster game. Tje game failed not because of pr but because it was not good at all.


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