There have been few video game launches as disastrous as Cyberpunk 2077. This was the most anticipated title of the year and, after multiple delays, finally hit retail and digital shelves to much fanfare in late 2020. Reviews were positive, but when actual players got their hands on it, they discovered a barely functional, crash-ridden and exceptionally buggy experience.
The backlash was intense, with Sony removing it from the PlayStation store and several lawsuits being formulated. Even so, it still sold a whopping 13 million copies in less than a month, meaning it was a success despite the terrible press. Much of that can be put down to pre-orders being fulfilled (a great reminder never, ever to pre-order games) and low-information players picking up the hot new thing without reading what folks were saying online.
Half a year on and after several patches, the title is definitely looking better. I still wouldn’t recommend playing it on a base PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, but on a high end PC or PlayStation 5/Xbox Series X, it’s basically functional. All this negativity has finally had an impact on sales, though, with CD Projekt Red now reporting that profits are down 64% in the first quarter of 2021 because Cyberpunk 2077 is simply not selling well.
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The developer points out that a big reason is that it still hasn’t been certified by Sony for re-release on their digital store, saying:
“The general situation as long as we are not back on the Sony store has not changed. One of the leading marketplaces for us is not available and we generate most of the sales on the PC/digital channels.”
The future may look brighter, though. A next-gen patch should become available later this year, with the added power of the new console generation smoothing over some of the technical shortcomings. But a lot of the damage is already done and Cyberpunk 2077 will go down in history as a warning of what happens when you push old hardware too hard, mislead customers about the game and release a title before it’s finished.