I rather like GOG (formerly known as Good Old Games), the company based in Poland that has been successfully resurrecting long lost games into their archive and making them not only available for purchase but also able to be played on modern hardware. They are also in the business of providing access to new games free from DRM, which is a pretty big deal in a gaming industry where most publishers use DRM as the go-to method to combat online piracy, often times at the legitimate customer's expense.

When it went on sale I picked up a copy of No Man's Sky from GOG to sidestep the DRM issues even though it had a poor initial reception that Hello Games (the development company) has yet to successfully overcome. I found it a decent game but clearly not AAA material - much like Minecraft in many respects. Unfortunately by the time I began playing No Man's Sky I had already become quite sick of Minecraft's sandbox style of play and was really not interested in yet another sandbox style game. At its core, No Man's Sky is a highly repetitive game even though the majority of the in-game content is procedurally generated, and the reason is because much of it can be lumped into a series of categories with a range of variance.

To Hello Games credit, they have since released multiple updates that were intended to improve gameplay and make it more interesting. Until the latest update was released two days ago (known as No Man's Sky NEXT), it had still not quite hit the mark of the original demo video of the game released all the way back in 2013. NEXT appears to be hitting the mark and satisfying much of its gamer audience. Unfortunately GOG did not receive a full version of NEXT, and one of it's biggest features was missing: multiplayer support.

GOG, to its credit, is offering an extension to their typical 30 day refund policy for customers of No Man's Sky who are (understandably) upset about this. However, they have also promised that multiplayer support will be available later this year (2018), consequently the fact that they are even offering the extension to their refund policy is above and beyond the call of duty. Anyone who is mad at GOG needs to understand a few things first.

The original demo video for No Man's Sky was not representative of the final game, and it was a game being developed by Hello Games, who was (at the time) not a particularly large, well funded game studio. In the excitement surrounding the video, they were acquired by Sony Entertainment with the intention that No Man's Sky should be a Playstation 4 exclusive when it was released. The pushback from the gamer community ensured that it was not, in fact, a Sony exclusive.

However, it bears mentioning that Sony is a juggernaut publishing company, and they have a huge amount of influence over multiple game development companies, who have occasionally been public about their distaste. Hello Games was almost certainly given a huge amount of funding by Sony, in addition to access to the publisher's own resources in order to complete No Man's Sky as quickly as possible so Sony could profit from the acquisition by striking while the iron was still hot.

This meant that the Hello Games developers had to quickly learn how to develop for the Playstation 4 (which may or may not have been easy to do - my understanding is that historically developing games for Playstation systems has not been the easiest thing to do), and it also meant they might have to sacrifice features to ensure the game would run properly on the PlayStation 4 as well, in addition to sacrifices already made in order to meet the two year release schedule.

This all lead to the original release being blasted by the media along with the gamers who pre-ordered the game which shipped, in their opinion, incomplete. Regardless of all the updates, bug fixes and patches since, that is a difficult image to overcome by Hello Games. It therefore isn't too hard to imagine that the root of the lack of multiplayer support is also an issue thanks to Sony, who is currently being lambasted for their reluctance to allow cross-platform multiplayer support in games that are available on the PS4, XBox One and PC. No Man's Sky players who purchased their game from Steam, which has DRM built into the game launching platform, have full access to multiplayer support in NEXT. It appears that only those who purchased a copy of their game from GOG do not have access to multiplayer.

To the average customer, it may seem simple to blame GOG but I honestly doubt it has anything to do with them. GOG's game launcher also supports multiplayer, it just doesn't do so in the exact same fashion as Steam. Regardless, even with the update, I still don't see much about this game to write home about. It's pretty, and some people may find it fun, but to me it's just an enhanced version of the original sandbox game that didn't do a whole lot to impress me anyway.