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There's a way to keep people from playing No Man's Sky early, but no one wants it

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Remember the always-connected console? Yeah.

Those bothered by the widespread leaks and livestreams of No Man's Sky as some retailers have broken its street date should know that there is a way to stop this sort of thing, but the cost is one nearly everyone is unwilling to pay.

That would be an always-connected console, or a console that has to check in with an online server even if the game is entirely offline.

Pete Hines, the Bethesda Softworks chief spokesman, brought this up in a QuakeCon interview with Game Informer, noting that no one (himself included) wants to see that happen.

In the run-up to the Xbox One's 2013 launch, Microsoft revealed plans to require the console to check in with Xbox Live servers every 24 hours (more frequently under other circumstances) and the core audience recoiled. Microsoft ultimately abandoned this requirement, but not before Sony pummeled its rival over the controversy during its E3 2013 news conference.

"Remember that conversation a few years ago about always online? Guess what that stops? It stops people from getting the game early and playing it before they are supposed to," Hines told Game Informer. "There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy about that, but one of the things that it actually did was prevent people from playing it early."

Hines' remarks came among a larger context of sympathy for Hello Games, having seen Bethesda products get sold early and dent the gala launch day excitement the publisher and development team hoped for.

That said, Hines didn't blame those who got their hands on No Man's Sky early. "If I walked into a store and they said, 'Here's Dishonored 2,' yeah, I would want to play that," Hines said.

Where the broken street date has made No Man's Sky fans anxious and upset is partly because of the hype preceding a game said to be nearly infinite in its scope. That's magnified by the fact the game that is being played and shown on livestreams is considerably different from the one waiting on Tuesday, after a massive overhaul of a day-one patch hits tomorrow.

That patch rewrites the universe's generation algorithm, significantly expands the size of galaxies, the diversity of lifeforms and terrain found on their planets, expands the limited inventory capacity that some players already are complaining about, introduces three storyline paths and even rewrites a good chunk of the game's story.

No Man's Sky launches Tuesday for PlayStation 4, and Aug. 12 for Windows PC.