It’s safe to say that the oft-delayed Cyberpunk 2077 was the most anticipated game release of 2020. And it’s no exaggeration to say that when that release arrived, it was far from perfect. In answer to a week of reports of game-breaking bugs and horrible performance on the PS4, Sony has pulled the game off its store and is offering refunds.
Sony made the announcement late yesterday, after some confusion when Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red encouraged unhappy gamers on the PS4 and Xbox One to get refunds. (There is no official refund mechanism for digital sales on consoles, unlike Steam and some other PC game stores.) Cyberpunk 2077 no longer appears in a search of the PlayStation Store, either for the PS4 or PS5, where it seems to have had a much smoother launch. In a short statement on the website, Sony encourages players who want a refund to reach out to its support system, where the purchase can be confirmed and reversed.
Players who have already purchased Cyberpunk 2077, digitally or physically, are free to continue playing if they want. But at the time of writing, the only way to get a copy for the PS4 or PS5 is to locate a physical version. It’s not clear when the game will return to the digital PlayStation Store, though CDPR will certainly endeavor to do so. The game remains on sale on the Xbox One and Series X/S, as well as all major PC game stores. Notably, the PS4 logo still appears on the game’s official website.
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) December 18, 2020
While its sales alone will keep it from being a “flop”, the initial response to Cyberpunk 2077 has been mixed at best. Pre-release reviews (limited to the PC version) praised its deep world, visuals, and intricate systems, but said that the pre-release materials overpromised on its innovation, and that it has more than its fair share of the bugs endemic to the open world genre. In contrast with poor performance on older PCs, the PS4, and the Xbox One, Cyberpunk has been warmly received on Stadia and GeForce Now, where high-powered cloud hardware from Google and NVIDIA make it run significantly better than even a mid-range gaming computer.
Developers and publishers sometimes pull games off of digital distribution if crucial errors have been found, but a AAA release like this one being fully retracted by a major console maker is unprecedented. Speculative commenters wonder if CDPR’s hasty recommendation of refunds, despite being in no position to actually grant them outside of its own PC game store, led Sony to a quick and punitive response.