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The PC version of No Man’s Sky is a mess for some players

No Man’s Sky just released for the PC on Steam, and users are reporting poor performance, even with good hardware. Stuttering, FPS drops, screen-tearing, and crashes on startup (a potential crash fix is available on Reddit) are among the reported issues, but it’s unclear how widespread they are. If the subreddit and Steam reviews are any indication, performance issues aren’t a small problem.

It’s also not an alt-tab friendly game. Once it’s minimized, users can’t seem to be able to return it to the active window. It happens to me, and absent-mindedly, I’ve alt-tabbed to hop into our office chat only to realize I in order to return to No Man’s Sky I had force close it and boot it up again. Until we found some weird workarounds: opening Task Manager, right-clicking NMS, and selecting "Switch to" works. So does clicking "Play" in Steam. Not ideal, but better than restarting, I suppose.

And for whatever reason, the framerate is capped at 30 by default, although it can be increased. Be sure to change that in the graphics options before burning down any buildings.

As of writing this, Steam user reviews are Mostly Negative, with over 1,000 in an hour after No Man’s Sky’s release on Steam. They’re known to surge and dogpile on a whim, so we’ll keep an eye on them to see how they level out, but nearly every single one points to performance.

A small patch just went out, but we're not sure what it addresses. I've installed it and played around for a bit with no noticeable difference in performance, so it might be a quick fix for the startup crashes. If you're still having problems post-patch, Sean Murray tweeted a few things to try and keep in mind.

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Hello Games is a small studio, so I expected the PC release to have some blemishes, but for me and plenty of others it’s nearly unplayable. Let’s hope more patches drop quickly for affected users.

James Davenport
James is PC Gamer’s bad boy, staying up late to cover Fortnite while cooking up radical ideas for the weekly livestream. He can still kickflip and swears a lot. You’ll find him somewhere in the west growing mushrooms and playing Dark Souls.