Cyberpunk 2077's launch is NOT the Xbox One's and PS4's fault.
Today as of my writing this, Sony announced that amoung the massive controversy that is the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, they are pulling the game from the Playstation store and offering players refunds. This is an unprecedented move from a console platform that truly shows the scale of backlash that is this launch. This came only days after IGN’s official console review that, more than just a bad review, actually advises players to “please not play the game” on base PS4 or Xbox One. This also comes days after critics questioned their single score review system and started to put up disclaimers noting that most of the positive reviews are on PC and their is a major “disparity” between platforms.
I want to squash a little myth that is circulating the gaming community during this topic.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not, i repeat, NOT the Xbox One’s and PS4’s fault. PERIOD.
You may have heard a friend, social media influencer, critic, or even yourself say that CDPR shouldn’t have launched on Xbox One and PS4 at all. Not in terms of a delay, but completely cancelled and skip those platforms. This is even spreading into more gamers revisting the topic and urging Microsoft to cancel the Xbox One version of Halo Infinite. Let me explain why shifting the blame of Cyberpunk’s launch onto the PS4 and Xbox One being “old hardware” is completely misguided and more importantly fails to land on the actual issue with the launch.
Cyberpunk 2077 is not “struggling to run” on the the PS4 and Xbox One because that hardware is not powerful enough to run it; it is struggling to run because the game is unfinished, bug ridden, and just not COMPLETE.
There are reviews and critics I have read who are playing this game with RTX 3090’s (pretty much the best possible GPU you can get) who are still running into major bugs and issues. The game suffers issues even on high end PC’s like what I am playing it on, the game has major graphical downgrades from demos, and rampant bugs. Patch updates are lengthy, and the game suffers from progression issues and other game breaking bugs. No one was expecting a miracle on base Xbox and PS4, but managing to run decently, at 30 fps.
I can’t stress this enough, “Hardware Power” DOES NOT MAGICALLY fix bad software. That’s not how Software works. Over the past few years we have several examples of bad software. Anthem, Fall Out 76, and even the most recent Avengers game. None of these games are games that had any reason to stuggle to run on Xbox One or PS4. They are no different or better at anything than other games that released next to them that managed to run fine on Xbox One and PS4. Most importantly, like Cyberpunk 2077 their issues existed on PC. The irony of this argument is that “usually” games that have launch issues usually struggle more on PC. While the Xbox One and PS4 are older and less powerful, they have the benefit of extreme optimization. It is actually easier to eliminate bugs and crashes on consoles because you can target the software to exactly known software. A recent example from just this year, a games like Watchdogs Legion, ran perfectly fine on PS4 Pro for me. I had no crashes, no save issues, no graphical glitches, and no major issues. The PC version from what I hear from fellow critics and friends had rampant issues in all these.
These games all were just buggy, unfinished, low quality software that maybe managed to be fun for you but were still poorly executed technically. In all cases the hardware was never to blame.
I can already hear the “yes but they are still 7 years old” arguments still coming. Furthermore, the resume of the Xbox One and PS4 have some absolutely amazing games that we can point to that just make the argument that they couldn’t run Cyberpunk 2077 just absolutely ridiculous. This year alone delivered some of the most visually beautiful and amazing games of the year, and they ALL run absolutely beautifully on PS4 and Xbox One.
The Last of Us Part 2, Final Fantasy 7 Remake are two games that released this year on PS4 and look absolutely gorgeous. Over the years, games like Detroit Become Human, Assassin’s Creed Origins, and CD Project Red’s own Witcher 3, are all some of the most amazing beautiful games I have ever played in terms of graphics and detail. All these are examples that the Xbox One and PS4 are more than capable of running beautiful and most importantly “finished” games WELL. To the side point of Halo Infinite, Even Halo 4 looked better on the XBOX 360 than the current state of Halo Infinite. These platforms are older sure, not only are they are also incredibly optimized, but they have an obvious laundry list of so many beautiful games that prove what they can do.
Now, just because this excuse is completely invalid, this doesn’t mean CD Project didn’t have the option to delay the console versions for more time and launch it first on PC. The consoles are plenty CAPABLE of running the game, but it takes development time to launch multiple versions. Microsoft has done this with two of their own AAA games this year alone, launching the PC version earlier than the Xbox versions because they said the Xbox versions needed more time. I questioned the decision for Microsoft to not prioritze the Xbox versions being that it is a console launch year, but it was still the right decision to spread a launch out if it’s needed.
Gamers blaming the consoles’ power is just objectively inaccurate on the situation; but that doesn’t mean the staggered launch wasn’t a viable alternative.
When Mass Effect Andromeda, Fallout 76, Anthem, and Avenger’s launched, we blamed the executives for their awful management and poor decisions that lead to an unfinished release, we didn’t blame the platforms. This is no different.