Single-player gamers, rejoice: PlayStation Plus will not be necessary to participate in No Man’s Sky’s online gameplay.
No Man’s Sky is an 18 quintillon planet experience, one that will be shared by a massive online community. However, no community could possibly be massive enough to map the universe. It is literally impossible for humanity to discover every planet in the game before the earth dies. The in-game universe is so large, in fact, that the game is considered single-player, due to the near-impossibility of meeting another player, let alone a friend.
This is likely the reason Sony told Game Informer that PS Plus will not be necessary for online play, although an online connection will be necessary to access all features. Here’s the exact quote from a representative: “PS Plus won’t be a requirement to play online, however you will need to be connected to the internet for your discoveries to register with the universal atlas.”
The “universal atlas” is the shared knowledge pool of the universe, sort of a cross between a map, leaderboard, and guide; think The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Your sole means of communication in-game (that we know of) is this, and presumably the physical alterations other players make to the universe.
If you were going to get/keep your PS Plus for No Man’s Sky, have no fear; you can save up that $5/mo. in case the game gets VR support, and splurge on that instead. The game drops August 9th on PlayStation 4 and PC.