The response to Cyberpunk 2077's delay shows what gamers really want

Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 (Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077

Source: CD Projekt Red (Image credit: Source: CD Projekt Red)

2020 has quickly become the year of delays. From Cyberpunk 2077's single and multiplayer modes, to Marvel's Avengers, and even the entire 2020 Ubisoft lineup, it's clear that developers have one thing in mind: get it right the first time. Because, let's face it, most of us are sick and tired of paying to be beta testers.

Too many games have launched over the past few years that completely ignore the fact that the consumer was the one paying for it, oftentimes taking months of patches before the game finally gets to a proper shipping state. We've seen this with games like No Man's Sky, which quite literally took years to reach the maturity required to sustain the interest of the millions of players that now enjoy it. Then there are titles like Fallout 76, which were a horrific, buggy, nearly unplayable mess at launch.

Fallout 76 bugs

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

First impressions are everything. Initial review scores don't go away. Everyone loses when games are rushed; players hate the game and word of mouth spreads. Publishers and developers lose money not just because of poor sales numbers, but because the price of a game has to drop. Indie game developers have a hard enough time with small teams because of the low prices their games sell at, so how much worse is it for developers that work for large companies that spend millions of dollars on development over the course of several years?

The answer is found in the DLC, the microtransaction, and loot crate nonsense trends we've seen in order to make up for poor planning and bad business decisions, often spurred on by tight development and release schedules that inherently encourage mediocrity upon launch. Delays are, as a whole, a good thing when a publisher or developer doesn't feel satisfied with what's being done and, ultimately, is looking to deliver the best experience to their fans.

Star Wars Battlefront II loot crates

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

But let's not fool ourselves, the delay doesn't necessarily mean a break for the developers. If anything, this could result in worse "crunch time" for devs that are already suffering from lack of sleep and the side effects that stem from poor sleeping habits. No one wants to subsidize poor management decisions, and no one wants to see developers' lives suffer because of them either. The social response to Cyberpunk 2077's delay shows that people are understanding the development process in a way they didn't in the past, but that doesn't mean outspoken consumers will be as understanding the next time around.

CD Projekt Red made the right decision in delaying the game several months instead of several weeks, giving developers plenty of time to finalize any technical or content issues that might have arisen. With cross-platform development becoming more and more common, and games becoming more and more grandiose, something has to give. Gamers want a good experience, not jank. They want a complete game, not one that they have to keep paying for over time, especially when they paid full price for it.

Nicholas Sutrich

Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu

  • Personally hate day 1 patches, but since the PS3/Xbox 360, they have become standard. Companies don't test like they used to. Even after going gold, they are still working on finishing the game. Not sure if this falls on devs or publishers, but I'd rather wait longer for a finished game than get a finished game 6 months after I have already played it and beat it. It also hurts the physical market in the LOOOOOOONG run. The reason I buy physical is so if I get the urge to play a game 5, 10, 15 years after the console hits eol (I play a saturn a bit) then I can still play the game. Then we have games that release in a broken state or have saves that will not work with newer versions of a game. Example... I buy x game on launch. Play it, beat it, uninstall game and move on. I still have the save game. 10 years from now, console y is no longer supported by it's online service. 1 bit later after that, I want to play game X again, grab the disk and install it. Now there is a possibility the save will not work on it, fine, I'll skip newgame+ and start over. 10 hours in there is a game breaking bug that was fixed with a day one patch that can no longer be downloaded legally. Now the console needs to be hacked or some other method devised to get said patch installed and hope it doesn't brick my console. Similar to the OG xbox and DLC now (which is now easier, but still runs the risk if you forget to backup your keys)
  • Nice article and totally agree with it.
  • All delays in 2020 are due to the next Gen consoles. No matter what any Dev says. That is the sole reason. Literally devs everywhere delaying their 2020 games. Happens every Gena end. All the ither fluff the developers claim is the reason is BS.