After an hour straight of exploration in pure, uninterrupted solitude, I put down the controller and asked myself, "What on earth am I doing with my time?" I'd started a new save of Elite: Dangerous with the Horizons expansion that recently shipped. It predominately added the ability to "journey seamlessly from space to explore the surfaces of accurately simulated 1:1 scale planets and moons" throughout Frontier's virtual recreation of the Milky Way.
I was exploring Baker's Prospect, the moon base that functions as the default spawning location in Horizons. A mission on the station claimed that a pilot had crashed on the rocky wastes, and had only a few hours left to live. But I'd been driving around in my SRV, zooming my scanner in and out, searching for an asphyxiating NPC. After a full hour, I discovered nothing. No pilot, no rocks to mine, no extra bases, nothing. Just the cold, soulless solitude that Elite: Dangerous has to offer.
This is the problem.