Like many others, I’m slowly becoming convinced that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be a must-buy game. But it occurred to me just how amazing CD Projekt Red is becoming, and how important it is to support not only their games, but their platform.
I personally love PC gaming, even though I’ve dealt with all the ups and downs its had since the mid-90’s. The glory days of wide-open piracy; crazy DRM crackdown schemes; the various launchers, software managers, and eventually storefronts. So there’s nobody I know who appreciates what Steam represents more than myself. I never want to go back to the old days, and I’m happy to support creators and publishers with my money. But when I look at what CD Projekt Red is achieving in both their platform and — perhaps more importantly — their game development, it really hits home just how lazy Valve has become.
I never liked the meme that Valve didn’t make games anymore. First of all, they have a huge library of games in their roster and most of them hold up a hundred times better than the stuff created by other developers. I would rather have a company only ever make three amazing games which stand the test of time and get good support than pumping out new hype-fueled money grabs every other year. Blizzard used to be the kings of PC gaming with only Diablo II, StarCraft, and WarCraft III (effectively) in their arsenal, and you can see how far they’ve fallen. Activision demanded that they make a new “exploitation” to their properties every year. So they pumped out games, and they’re a joke by now. I don’t want Valve to make a lot of games. I want them to make a few amazing ones and raise the bar when they do so.
Their service is incredible as well. If you’re a PC gamer under 30 years old you probably have no idea how bad things were before Steam, and if you only started playing PC games after 2010 you also have no idea how hard Valve worked to satisfy the customer and innovate beyond what was necessary. Steam does have basic DRM systems to prevent piracy and protect publishers, but Offline Mode is a real option that works! You can now get refunds with basically no questions asked if you haven’t played much of a game or it’s a buggy mess. You can share your library with other people at no cost. Valve has single-handedly revolutionized the gaming industry by raising the standard for what is expected, and people have taken it all for granted. Their infrastructure is incredible, and their ability to save bandwidth and storage space is fantastic. People focus only on trading skins for money on CS:GO or hats in Team Fortress 2, but the platform itself is a godsend that I cannot appreciate enough.
With all that said, Valve dropped the ball big time with Artifact, their card collecting game designed by the once-respected Richard Garfield of Magic: The Gathering fame. It’s now in total development limbo, if not permanently dead, and that’s not even the insulting part. They made huge promises that they could have fulfilled, but they didn’t keep any of them. They never held the tournament they bragged about. They never gave players options they said they would. For people like myself who figured it would be a constant struggle to improve and stay relevant, the real shocker was that they never communicated with the audience and then just abandoned it after some people spent thousands of dollars trying to use their trading economy.
The Full Package
Looking at CD Projekt Red, we see a very different story.
Their card game, Gwent, is still being supported. Even though it’s a small community and was introduced in the Witcher games as a silly minigame, they carved out their own little place in the market without promising crazy things. The Witcher games themselves have taken RPG adventures to new heights in some ways, even if they have strongly eccentric parts to them. This was an obscure-as-hell IP that CD Projekt Red has pushed into total mainstream awareness. (The show derived from it looks god-awful, proving once again that the games deserve special credit for doing it right.)
Apparently their “Thronebreaker” game got a lot of praise even though it’s a combination of a card game and a top-down RPG.
CD Projekt Red is the full package. They deliver high-quality games, amazing DLC and ongoing support, and a platform that is extremely consumer friendly.
Now we have Cyberpunk 2077, which is winning over even the most cynical gamers by sticking to the material and living up to its controversial science-fiction themes, if not its promise of freedom and customization. I won’t pretend to know if the game will live up to the hype, but I feel very confident that GOG will try to fix any problems it has and continue to support it with all their heart.
If I do buy Cyberpunk 2077 it will be from GOG’s store, and I suggest you do the same.