Five years after its launch disaster, No Man's Sky has finally earned all-time positive user recognition on Steam.
The game's all-time Steam user review average has now ticked over into the "Mostly Positive" category, after starting at "Overwhelmingly Negative".
Developer Hello Games noted the milestone had been reached following the arrival of Frontiers, the game's latest expansion released last week, and shared an insight into how Steam's review metrics actually work.
Moving from "Overwhelmingly Negative" to "Mixed", Steam's so-so middleground for games, took two years, Hello Games said. Moving just one stage further now to "Mostly Positive" has taken three years more.
"Each percentage point becomes exponentially harder to earn as you move up the ratings," Hello Games' Tim Woodley said. "Moving from 20 percent positive to 21 percent positive may only require a few hundred positive reviews whereas moving from 69 percent to 70 percent needed 10,000 positive reviews. This is why it's so rare for games to change their All-Time rating and why we'd assumed that we might never be able to."
Of course, Steam reviews are just a guideline, and subject to frequent manipulation by users who object to certain updates or wish to highlight current community discontent. This is why Steam now splits "all-time" and "recent" reviews, to highlight both shorter and longer-term sentiment.
But, for developers, it's clearly still important, as Woodley concludes:
"In some ways it's easy to dismiss Steam reviews, it's a bit of meme to share the silly ones, but as a developer they are undeniably meaningful. For five years now if someone bought No Man's Sky they had to do it in spite of a red or yellow warning symbol beside our name (and affecting the likelihood algorithm in charge of displaying the name in the first place)."
If you missed it, Frontiers now lets you govern and grow your own No Man's Sky version of Mos Eisley on various planets. It is the game's 17th major update since launch.