Outrage in Night City: is the opinion on Cyberpunk 2077 as dark and gritty as the game itself?
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the most anticipated game of 2020 was Cyberpunk 2077, by Polish developer CD Projekt Red. What they did not foresee is that with great excitement comes great disappointment if something falls through.
Prior to 2020, the company had already reached unprecedented heights both financially and in popularity, despite the fact that they had only released a handful of games. After the huge success of Witcher 3, hype went through the roof with Cyberpunk 2077, and eager players even planned on aligning their out of office days with the week following the release.
What goes up must usually come down, but the management of CD Projekt Red would have doubtless preferred a less abrupt fall: after the already twice delayed release, players were disappointed and outraged to find the game full of major bugs and crashing often. Investors are threatening with lawsuits and the company’s value on the stock market dropped by more than 20 percent.
We wanted to take a closer look at the online world’s response and decided to gather mentions of the game since the beginning of October in Austria, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Let’s see how much users really talked about Cyberpunk 2077 and what the conversations were about.
The population of each country definitely plays into the number of mentions, nevertheless, it was Polish users who talked the most about Cyberpunk, followed by Germans. High mention numbers were detected in Hungary as well, while in Austria the game wasn’t that much of a hot topic.
We can see a small peak in each country on the 27th of October, when the second delay was announced by CD Projekt Red, and then there’s a gradual rise throughout November, while in December (and especially on and around the 10th, when the public release happened), the whole internet blew up. During and after the holidays, mention numbers slowly started to go back down again.
The second highest peak of the examined time period is on the 18th of December, when – a week after the release – Sony decided to remove Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation store, wanting to protect customers from wasting their money on an unfinished game. They also promised a refund for those who had already purchased it and wanted their money back.
Bugs or no bugs, gamers wanted to play
The most engaging posts on Twitter and Facebook came from before the game was released, all filled with mad anticipation. Afterwards, videos took over the floor, and generated way more engagement than tweets did. The content that had the highest engagement number in every country in relation to Cyberpunk 2077 came from YouTube, where reviews and livestreams of actual gameplay had thousands of views and reactions from 9th December on. (The top two most engaging videos in Austria #1, #2, Germany #1, #2, Hungary #1, #2 and Poland #1, #2.) Problems with the game were mentioned in these, of course, but discovering the storyline, solving quests and getting immersed in the world of Night City, where the game takes place, was equally as important.
Seasoned gamers know that new releases always come with lots of bugs, which can usually be fixed later on. However, the hype around Cyberpunk 2077 was so crazy that some fans got carried away with their expectations and were disappointed afterwards.
Where did the criticism and drama show up?
Mood changes in the mentions were strikingly different in the four examined countries: Hungary was by far the most negative, while Germany and Austria were the most positive ones. Disappointment outweighed happy emotions in Polish content on a couple of days following the release, but overall, the two sides there were mostly balanced.
Even though they had a huge engaging force, videos accounted for a much smaller percentage of the coverage than other forms of social media. In Germany, Twitter was the most dominant source, and tweets there remained mostly positive. However, in Poland and in Hungary a large portion (50% and 61%) of the mentions came from forum discussions, and those lengthy threads were where users found an outlet for their disappointment. The second most important platform for ventilation was Facebook in both countries (around 20%).
While Cyberpunk 2077 sure looks like an unfinished game with many patches and fixes to come, its future does not seem completely uncertain. By the end of December, CD Projekt Red already reported having sold 13 million copies, which means that they have more than covered the development costs. The stocks’ drop in value and the possible lawsuits surely aren’t what CD Projekt Red dreamt of, however, it seems they still have a solid enough fanbase and Cyberpunk 2077 still provides a great enough experience to keep them afloat.