Content Type: Gaming News
Date: December 18, 2020
(Featured image credit: @AlexRoPo)
Yeah… you read that right.
If your intuition is telling you that something big is going on, that might quite be the case. This is not something that happens often, especially so with AAA games; we haven’t seen this kind of action taken by Sony even against Fallout 76 or No Man’s Sky at their worst. So, what’s going on? Why did Sony take the game off of their store? What does this mean for players and CDPR?
Cyberpunk 2077‘s Unplayable State on Old-Gen Consoles
Let’s discuss the state of matters so far and the escalation of tensions that might have led Sony to pull the game off of their store completely.
CDPR, while mostly making promises at this point, did not try to hide their mistake following the release.
This Monday we heard some apologies and hopeful promises of fixes from CDPR concerning their shaky release of Cyberpunk 2077 for consoles, especially so the base last-gen consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We also heard from them in their investor’s call from the same day, where the company promised to do everything they can to fix the game’s performance on last-gen consoles and salvage their trust with the investors and gaming community. CDPR further issued some apologies to their development team (sparking some controversy around CDPR’s original bonus system), but there is still a lot going on against them.
We are yet to see any substantial fixes, while the severity of the situation definitely calls for them. The struggle with refunding Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation leading up to the events that transpired today has escalated the tensions, likely pushing Sony to make their drastic decision.
Severity of the Issues
The bugs and performance issues many players saw with the PC and new-gen console release (even after the first patches were rolled out) certainly took away from the experience, but the scale of issues for last-gen consoles made the game downright unplayable.
If your only option right now is playing Cyberpunk 2077 on the base PS4 or Xbox One, we highly suggest you don’t play at all until its many terrible performance issues are fixed.
— IGN (@IGN) December 15, 2020
The quality of gameplay we have seen on base consoles has indeed been appalling: frame rates dropping to 20s and even 10s, surrounding textures taking minutes to load or failing to load at all, constant crashes, character models and other objects clipping through each other, major quests failing to load or progress, and many other game-breaking issues. This resulted in Cyberpunk 2077‘s overall score for consoles tanking, forcing many players to start their refund process. Many expressed severe criticism to how CDPR handled the release for the game through reviews and social media. CD Project RED’s stock price suffered a similar shock, along with their credibility, join shares, and sale profits.
— Mr Shibori (@MrShibori) December 11, 2020
Even before the game’s release, CDPR were accused of misleading marketing tactics: their presentations only covering gameplay on new-gen consoles and PC, false reports in regards to the game’s performance on old-gen consoles, and their pre-release public review campaign distributing PC copies only and forbidding reviewers from sharing any gameplay footage. (There were some unique issues that came up with that round of reviews, which we covered in this article).
Rough Process of Refunding
Sony’s refund policy is important to consider here.
Requests for refunds started to come in early after the release date as players recognized the dire state of the game on PS4, but Sony wasn’t quick to respond to them. Sony is known for allowing no grace period for their gamers to form first impressions of the titles they purchased, nullifying the return eligibility for the game as soon as it is downloaded onto the machine. This same policy applied to Cyberpunk 2077, which certainly added to the tensions in the community.
Players, feeling mislead by CDPR’s marketing campaign, were stuck with their very expensive purchase of the game. The public apology issued by CDPR on Monday offered that “if you are not pleased with the game on your console and don’t want to wait for updates, you can opt to refund your copy.” Yet, this statement did not mean that Sony adjusted their strict return policy for Cyberpunk 2077, requiring gamers to go through the same lengthy and stressful refund process they would need to deal with regardless.
Any chance some at @PlayStation could please tell me if you are refunding PS4 copies of #Cyberpunk2077 – I havent heard back from my refund forms and I tried getting in touch but after waiting for 25 minutes they just cancelled my ticket… #robbed pic.twitter.com/FW5bwIPML8
— Ethan Cox (@__yellowbelly__) December 15, 2020
It’s easy to see why many took to social media to express their frustrations and publicly share their struggles with the refund process.
What Happened with Sony and What Does It Mean?
Then, the tense state of matters was suddenly faced with a drastic decision made by Sony.
Today, Sony took Cyberpunk 2077 off of their PlayStation store, creating a webpage that they titled “Cyberpunk 2077 Refunds,” with this brief message on it:
SIE strives to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, therefore we will begin to offer a full refund for all gamers who have purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store. SIE will also be removing Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Store until further notice.
Once we have confirmed that you purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store, we will begin processing your refund. Please note that completion of the refund may vary based on your payment method and financial institution.
The statement itself does not answer all of the question we have as a community, including the decision to remove the PS5 version of the game from the store (which performed much better, even if it still ranked below the PC experience), despite the potential profits the massively-hyped game could have made them.
Most likely, this was Sony’s response to the chaos caused by the low review scores and a wave of refund requests challenging their policy. Even more so, perhaps, this was a demonstration of Sony willing to take serious measures to recognize the community’s outrage.
It’s crazy that things with Cyberpunk on PS4 have gone so bad they took it from the PS Store and are allowing refunds. Damn.
Imagine SONY, of all companies, refunding games. Freaking Sony. That’s history right there.
— Nobusugi (@NobumeGOAT) December 18, 2020
While Sony received a lot of support from the community, their decision received mixed reviews from players who didn’t have as poor of an experience with PS4 Pro and people who were about to purchase the game for PS5.
We haven’t heard anything from CDPR considering this measure, as we haven’t heard from Microsoft and their thoughts about Xbox One versions being sold through their store. However, considering the power behind Sony’s unusual decision and how much it can affect the game’s public perception and sales, we might see some action from the other two companies, and there is hoping that it will be the former one that will be trying to address the situation next.
(12/17, 11:20 PM) Important Update:
We have learned that the current owners of the game on PlayStation consoles will continue receiving due support.
CDPR has issued a statement where they confirmed that they were involved in Sony’s decision to remove the game from PlayStation store.
The Management Board of CD PROJEKT S.A. with a registered office in
Warsaw (hereinafter referred to as “the Company”) hereby publicly
discloses the decision of Sony Interactive Entertainment (hereinafter
referred to as “SIE”) to remove Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Store
until further notice. The decision was undertaken following our
discussion with SIE regarding a full refund for all gamers who had
purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store and want a refund at this
time. All copies of the game previously purchased digitally on
PlayStation Store remain available for use by their respective buyers.
Gamers can still buy physical versions of the game in retail and mail
order stores. All copies, whether digital or physical, will continue to
receive support and updates from the Company.
What are your thoughts about this situation?
Did Sony overreact, or is the situation serious enough for Microsoft to make a similar decision?
What was your experience with the game so far, and on what platform are you playing it?
Let us know in the comments!