December 22, 2020
Image: CD Projekt
Hello! This week in Protocol Gaming, your weekly guide to the business of video games: what Cyberpunk's messy launch can teach us, and a whole bunch of developments in Chinese gaming.
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The Cyberpunk 2077 fiasco is not over yet: That will only happen when (if!) the game is patched on last-gen consoles. But though we're still in the midst of it, the troubled launch has already taught us some very valuable lessons about the games industry — and some of its biggest problems.
The post-release has also shown where power really lies: with platforms. Sony pulling the game from the PlayStation Store last week was a watershed moment: If the Epic-Apple fight hadn't made it clear enough, it's now undeniable that a select few gatekeepers are in control.
There's one thing we still don't know though: How much any of this will matter. For sure, CD Projekt is currently in a dire situation. Its stock has plunged around 40% in the last few weeks, and it's offered to cover the costs of refunds not honored by retailers. Its reputation is also a long, long way from where it was just a couple months ago, let alone at the height of The Witcher 3 mania.
Whether the industry learns these lessons may ultimately depend on whether CD Projekt sees a sustained financial impact from the debacle. After all, the game recouped its costs from preorders alone. If the company's financials next year are solid, and the scandal all forgotten, then there's little incentive for it, or other companies, to change.
The lockdowns this year have transformed our homes into offices, schools, concert halls, movie theaters and gyms. Our homes are working harder for us, but so is our technology. The device that is working the hardest is perhaps the TV—becoming our lifeline to a far more virtual world.
If you're stuck at home this Christmas looking for something to do, 343 Industries has just given you one excellent option. It's announced that the Xbox 360's Halo games will go dark next December, giving you just a year left to reminisce about the simpler times of 2007. Better make the most of it!
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