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No Man's Sky players have already discovered more species than exist on Earth

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No Man's Sky is one of the most expansive video games ever created, tasking players with exploring a procedurally generated universe so vast that everyone's experience will be different. It's unclear whether players can even run into others at all — two people playing the game yesterday claimed to have made it to the same location but couldn't see each other — but the chances of it happening in any case are extremely low.

Addressing the game's performance just over 24 hours after it launched, Hello Games founder Sean Murray says that "too many of you are playing right now. More than we could have predicted," suggesting that certain online features aren't functional at present. Murray also notes that over 10 million alien species have been discovered by players already — more than the 8.7 million species native to Earth, estimated by a 2011 study.

The number is big enough to almost seem meaningless, but it's a testament to the virtual biodiversity enabled by Hello Games' procedural technology. While it's hard to tell just how unique each of these computer-crafted creations are, in my time with the game so far I've already come across a wildly mixed menagerie of bizarre and beautiful creatures far beyond what video games usually offer up.

Here is a good example of the game's unique brand of beauty.