It was supposed to be the gaming event of the year – but Cyberpunk 2077 has already hemorrhaged 79% of its player base within one month. The news struck just as reports indicated that Steam coverage was still strong. But what does this tell us about gaming in the 2020s?
The average number of players in the game each day is around 225,000 in January 2021, down from more than 1 million in its debut month of December 2020. To compare to the Witcher 3, the report discovered that Cyberpunk 2077 lost its player base three times as fast – with half its player base still regularly playing Witcher a month into the game’s tenure.
This shouldn’t be cause for alarm. Experts suggest single-player games drop their player base dramatically like this. Open world games provide an exception as there is usually more to do. Developers insist that the game is strong on Steam, so it is gaining new players at a healthy rate, while the old ones may have completed all there is to complete.
The world of gaming has faced a series of similar controversies – with players unhappy initially and then the company finding ways to tweak the output. For example, Nintendo faced backlash for its latest installments of the Pokémon series – Sword and Shield. The game missed out on several creatures from the National Dex and many suggested that the DLC should’ve been included in the game. But the DLC, released later, was highly praised – showing that game developers can listen to fans and take their critiques on board to create a better game.
This ability to tweak and improve on live games is indicative of the way we engage with entertainment. Mobile gaming means that gaming apps can regularly be updated, and issues can be handled better. Traditional gaming on discs would require every disc to be recalled and reprinted, which would be impractical and costly. So, modern game developers are in a better position to tweak games. So, perhaps they allow some to hit the market to capitalize on the buzz and satiate fans, worrying about potential issues afterward.
For those who play casino online, developers release new material from a range of different software providers – with these games being key attractors for new players. The more variety a site has, the better chance it has of enticing players, especially if new content is promised regularly. Sites can select material from top providers – Play ’N’ Go, Microgaming, NetEnt – and then they use this to appeal to players who search for these trusted gaming providers. The benefit of the online casino industry is that slot titles, for example, can be removed and improved based on customer feedback.
Dramatic figures such as the 79% drop in player retention sound scary, but they are actually more indicative of the gaming market today. Developers know they can improve as they go and that it’s important to get the game onto screens first. They are prioritizing creating content rather than perfecting it. Knowing that things can be changed as they go may create more of an open dialogue between gamers and developers, which would be beneficial for the future of gaming.