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Sales vs success vs Cyberpunk

I’m reminded of the Aesop’s Fable “The Dog & His Reflection”. CDPR chased the bigger bone, the desire to release simultaneously across PC, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Seamus Byrne
Seamus Byrne
4 min read
Sales vs success vs Cyberpunk

I’m imagining an alternate version of 2020 where, after delays in previous years, CD Projekt Red released the PC-only game Cyberpunk 2077. The game sets records for pre-order sales and is released to rave reviews. A triumph of the form.

In reality, I’m reminded of the Aesop’s Fable “The Dog & His Reflection”. CDPR chased the bigger bone, the desire to release simultaneously across PC, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

So now the game is a meme of glitches and bad performance. The version on PC that performs well (and that did set new sales records for PC game launches) is overshadowed by an awful launch on older console formats that led the game’s eventual removal from digital stores and refund discussions across the world.

I’m yet to play the game. I’m thinking I’ll dive in after the summer holidays, when the kids are back in school and I can play an R18+ game without so much of a concern over who might walk in and watch what’s going on. So my grasp of the qualitative issues is minimal.

But I love Cyberpunk. I still have my old first edition rulebooks, when the setting was the ‘just past the horizon’ future of… 2013. It was a fascinating setting for a 16-year-old to explore in a classic RPG format. And one I’ve been very eager to see brought to life in this game.

All the concerns that have arisen – a team pushed to work too hard to meet crazy deadlines, and then to release a game across 5 platforms that was clearly not ready – feel like they keep circling back to the idea that sticking to the company’s PC wheelhouse would have led to a successful launch without so much of the pain, but the desire to chase the big splashy All Things Everywhere launch caused so much pain now for the team and the eager fans.

What’s the lesson? If it had worked, of course, there’s no lesson. They’d have had it all. The sales, the success, the works.

But maybe winning at your core first – crushing it with a well polished PC-only launch – would have made launches on Xbox and PlayStation in 2021 a lot more desirable for fans. And less painful for the developers, before and after launch.

If the perfect is the enemy of the good, perhaps chasing ALL the sales can be the enemy of building for real success.

Bring on 2021!

We’re off for a couple of weeks! See you in 2021!

Thanks again to all our amazing supporters so far with the new Byteside memership system. Send us a Christmas present by joining up now!

You’ll also go in the draw for a fantastic SteelSeries prize pack, which includes a headset, keyboard and mouse, as well as a cap and hoodie designed by Dune Haggar from Western Australia.

Huge thanks to SteelSeries for supporting Byteside in this way.

Here’s the rest of your reads to close out the year. Thanks again for reading and we’ll have lots more in 2021!


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Founder and Head of Content at Byteside.

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