Sony, Microsoft Offers Refunds Following Botched Cyberpunk 2077 Launch

Sony and Microsoft are both offering refunds following the botched launch of Cyberpunk 2077. Sony even took the step to delist the game.

Video game history is absolutely littered with botched game launches. Some resulted in some negative PR while others sunk entire game development studio’s.

One example of a botched game launch is Bethesda’s Fallout 76 launch of 2018. In that instance, a launch bug caused players to be forced to redownload the entire game. The game itself is 48GM, so downloading that twice was not only time consuming, but also caused some players to go over their bandwidth caps in the process. To pour salt in the wound, Bethesda also suffered from a data leak in the process. This exposed some customers personal information to be exposed to unauthorized third parties. At this point, though, Bethesda is able to relegate this to a really bad memory these days.

Now, we are seeing what might be described as 2020’s most botched video game launch. This one focuses on Project CD RED’s hotly anticipated title, Cyberpunk 2077. The game itself is running into so many bugs, Sony said that it is delisting the game from their console store. Both Sony and Microsoft are offering refunds, however, Microsoft opted not to delist the game from their store. From the Washington Post:

For a long time, “Cyberpunk 2077” was a hope, a promise for the future of video games and the next generation. For several years it remained an abstract concept, with fans anticipating the role-playing game would revolutionize open-world design just like “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” before it.

But as launch approached, that promise became less likely, overshadowed by several controversies. Delays became so common that they transformed into a meme, and concerns were voiced over developer CD Projekt Red’s mandated crunch schedule. Now, with the game out for just shy of a week, console players are barely able to play the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of the game because of technical problems; CD Projekt Red apologized and said applicable players could “opt to refund” their copy — though players may run into some issues on that front. Sony, facing an apparent barrage of refund requests, has since announced that the game will be delisted from the PlayStation store; soon after, Microsoft promised to expand its refund policy.

The launch has been incredibly messy, and CD Projekt Red explicitly stated in an investor call that it had taken “the wrong approach” with the development of its Xbox One and PS4 versions.

According to Arstechnica, the refund process is borderline automatic at this stage:

With more clarity on the refund process, which appeared to be automatic at first glance (owing to the missing “refund” button), users may very well elect not to follow through on this refund option, in spite of woeful performance on base PS4 (and better performance on PS4 Pro, albeit not perfect by any means). CD Projekt Red previously told console owners of the game to expect “two large patches,” scheduled for January and February of 2021.

As of press time, CD Projekt Red had not offered its own announcement on this development (owing to it breaking very early in the morning as per time zones in the publisher and developer’s native country of Poland). Shortly after Sony’s announcement went live, CDPR Senior Game Designer Andrzej Zawadzki posted a meme of David Tennant crying, with no other statement or context.

With the critical acclaim of the game Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (as of this writing, we are currently playing through it), this is quite the surprising development for the studio. Before all the delays, it’s hard to blame players from being excited for this game.

What’s worth pointing out is that botched game launches don’t always translate into a failed game. Some titles that have a botched launch go on to be major success stories in the gaming industry. At this point in time, the question is, can the studio recover from this? There is certainly a chance. After all, they have built up a good reputation with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. In addition, there is upfront refunds being offered. After all, they could have really buried their reputation by blaming the customers for the problems and refused to offer refunds. It appears they didn’t take that line at least. At this point, though, the developer is in full damage control. Time will tell if this is just a major bump in the road or something more serious for the studio.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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