Anatomy of hype about ‘No Man’s Sky’: online platforms and barriers to video game demonstrations




paltforms, videogames, STS, representation, socio-technical barriers, YouTube, Platform Studies, users


The article is devoted to a story happened to one of the most awaited videogames over the last years called ‘No Man’s Sky’. The videogame has been developed for five years and during all this time it has been surrounded by hype and media frenzy that produced high expectations. The game was expected to be a breakthrough in the game industry, however when the game was released it received low assessments by the game industry media and negative reviews of the gamers.The developers were accused of not providing the options they showed in trailers. Based on theoretical resources of the platform studies and a notion of demonstration, the authors try to figure out why the game failed. The analysis of trailers and the YouTube users’ comments show that the game failed not as a consequence of direct lies by developers but due to understatement and non-informative character of the game demonstrations which led to various interpretations according to the work of imagination.This is also caused by the barriers that the forms of video game-play demonstrations have as they do not convey true game-playing experiences. On the other hand, the ‘No Man’s Sky’ failure is due to some YouTube specifics being a platform which lets the audience to participate in the creation of something of a ‘media version’ of ‘No Man’s Sky’ reality. The ‘media version’ outperformed the game itself in its grandiosity and scale.The problem was that the developers did not limit the growth of the ‘media version’, and it ended in game failure. Thus, one may talk of a multiple character of modern cultural objects with users participating in their creation.