No Man’s Sky multiplayer - How to join friends for co-op

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A player looking at a Starship at a Space Station in No Man's Sky.
August 24, 2023: The No Man's Sky Echoes update has just arrived, and if you plan on diving in with friends, you'll need to know how multiplayer works in the game.

Want to know how No Man's Sky multiplayer works? In No Man's Sky, there is an abundance of interstellar systems for you to explore. You can choose whether you wish to take down space pirates or research and explore various systems. The opportunities to get into epic space dogfights and explore are endless. At times, this can be overwhelming or even lonely, as there is literally an endless amount of planets for you to see and explore.

While some players might enjoy the solitude that comes with this vast exploration all by their lonesome, others might want to bring a passenger or co-pilot along with them. If you belong to this group, you might consider inviting or teaming up with a friend to explore space together through multiplayer co-op. It's always a good idea to have someone by your side during an intergalactic spaceship battle.

So, let's tell you everything you need to know about how to play No Man's Sky in co-op! We'll tell you if the game is crossplay, how to join friends, and more.

Check out some more guides to help you travel the galaxy in No Man's Sky! Here's where to find Tritium, and Paraffinium, and how to increase your ship's storage.

Players can invite or join a friend in No Man's Sky by selecting Network under the Options tab in the main menu.
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How to play No Man's Sky multiplayer

The easiest way to join up with a friend and play multiplayer co-op in No Man's Sky is by joining their game directly or having them join yours. To do this, ensure that you're online and head to the 'Options' tab in your main menu, then select 'Network'.

From here, you can adjust the settings of your own game and then invite others to play. Select 'View No Man's Sky Friend List' to view your friends, and you can then invite whomever you wish from the list. If you're playing on console, your console friends will also be available to invite, and so forth.

If you're looking to invite someone who is not already on your friends list, simply select 'View No Man's Sky Friend Code' to reveal your unique friend code. Give this to a friend so that they can add you, or alternatively select 'Add No Man's Sky Friend' to input their code and add them.

Once this has been done, no accepting or declining of friends is necessary, and you will be able to then join each other's games and play co-op together.

To get the best experience you'll need to join the same mode, otherwise you'll be nothing more than a "guest" and be locked out of some key features while wandering around with a friend. The modes available are:

  • Normal
  • Survival
  • Permadeath
  • Creative
The Space Anomaly and Priest Entity Nada, a nexus that acts as a multiplayer hub for players and functions similarly to a Space Station, in No Man's Sky.
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Can you play the No Man's Sky story in co-op?

Sadly there is no way to play the campaign of No Man's Sky alongside a friend. Despite the constant updates the dev team has made to make the game the closest it can be to the initial promises made all the way back in 2016, you'll need to play solo to experience the story.

Is there split screen or local co-op in No Man's Sky?

Once again, we're sorry to disappoint and say that no, No Man's Sky features no split screen or couch co-op of any kind, meaning each player has to be in their own console and logged in within the game to meet other friends online.

Is there crossplay in No Man's Sky?

A key component if you want to enjoy No Man's Sky co-op is crossplay and yes, the game does have crossplay enabled by default, meaning there's no convoluted process to get it activated.

Crossplay works with those playing No Man's Sky on the following platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PlayStation 5
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox Series S/X
  • PC
  • MacOS

Sadly, if you're a Nintendo Switch user, you won't be able to join on the crossplay fun.

What can you do in No Man's Sky multiplayer?

While you can't play the story together with a friend, No Man's Sky features plenty of activities to kill some time while exploring the vastness of space. Some of these are:

  • Create race tracks
  • Trade items and resources
  • Do co-op expeditions
  • Share a base

You'll also want to know more about The Nexus and multiplayer missions!

The Space Anomaly and multiplayer missions

The Space Anomaly features the Nexus system, which is a multiplayer hub for players seeking to play co-op. Similarly to a Space Station, you can use vendors and go on missions in this system. The Nexus also allows you to interact with real players who are currently in your instance of the game. There are limitations on how many players can be in your instance at once, but you'll be able to find dozens of players at the same time if you're lucky enough.

The Space Anomaly does need to be unlocked before the Nexus can be accessed, and this will take approximately 5-6 hours of following the main quest line, Awakenings.

After encountering the Anomaly, you will need to investigate various signals and go to coordinates around the system before ultimately unlocking the Space Anomaly. Once you have unlocked the multiplayer area, you can access it from any interstellar system you're in. It should be noted that you and your friends can find each other here even if you're not in the same party. However, the chances of this are rare, as all of you would need to be in the same instance of the game.

In the Space Anomaly, you can then choose to take part in multiplayer co-op missions by visiting the Job Board. You'll then be able to select whether you want to play in a public or private party and choose which type of activity you want to do for the mission. Once the mission is set up, you and your friends are good to go and continue exploring space and reaping rewards for doing so.

For more on No Man's Sky, check out our general tips and tricks, as well as how to get a pet companion to accompany you when a friend isn't available.

For more articles like this, take a look at our No Man's Sky and Guides page.