Cyberpunk 2077 lost 79% of Steam players in a month, but what does that mean?

Cyberpunk 2077‘s launch issues were big news through the last few weeks of 2020, as the game’s bugginess on all platforms was met by shockingly poor performance on consoles, refunds, delistings and even lawsuits.

Now a fresh report from GitHyp, a site that tracks Steam player data and Twitch viewer data, has come up with the stat that Cyberpunk 2077 has lost 79% of its players on Steam in the last month, doing so three times faster than CD Projekt Red’s previous game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

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It’s a fun stat to point at and laugh, but as the old adage goes, there’s lies, damn lies, and statistics, so how does this one hold up and what does it mean?

Firstly, Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3 are wildly different games in terms of their reach at launch. Cyberpunk 2077 enjoyed a record-setting peak player count of over 1 million players around its launch, compared to The Witcher 3’s initial peak of 92,000 from its May 2015 release. While The Witcher 3 dropped 50% after a month and took 3 months to lose more than 79%, Cyberpunk 2077’s remaining player base is still around double the highest peak player count that The Witcher 3 has ever enjoyed.

Compared to other big single player games over the last few years, and while Cyberpunk 2077’s drop is maybe faster than CDPR would have liked, it’s not exactly unheard of. Death Stranding saw a similar 80% drop in one month, Fallout 4 took two months, Dark Souls 3 slumped closer to 15% after two months, and so on. Yes, big open world games typically have more staying power, but then there’s next to nothing that starts off with such a high point as Cyberpunk 2077 either. AC Origins‘ launch peak was 15,000, AC Odyssey was 25,000, Red Dead Redemption 2 was around 25,000 as well (months after the original console release).

Truly the only game that’s comparable is Fallout 4, which held the record at 472,000 concurrent players at launch and as mentioned took 2 months to lose around 80% of its players. Unfortunately GitHyp’s tracking before 2020 is limited to months and not days.

Some might reasonably point to the fact that Cyberpunk 2077’s main story campaign is quite a bit shorter than that of The Witcher 3, which CDPR explained away in the run up to the game’s release as being a deliberate decision to enable a higher percentage of players to reach the end of the game. Thankfully, we can figure out how well that is going by looking at the game’s achievements.

Cyberpunk 2077’s achievement for reaching the end of the game has been earned by 24.5% of players after less than a month, which compares favourably to the lifetime main story completion rates of The Witcher 3 (26.5%), Fallout 4 (23%), Death Stranding (18.9%) and Red Dead Redemption 2 (25.8% to complete Chapter 5 and 19% to finish the Epilogue). Cyberpunk 2077 is already at a comparable level of completion, and it’s reasonable to expect that figure to climb as more of the early buyers reach the 30+ hours play time it takes to complete the story.

Still, right now it’s a long way short of games like Marvel’s Spider-Man or God of War, both of which track at over 50% completion, Far Cry 5 at around 35%, or even a more niche title like Yakuza Kiwami 2 at 49% – stats per GameRevolution.

Additionally, it’s hardly gloom and doom for CDPR with a dwindling player count. While a portion of the player base might have opted to refund the game at CDPR’s suggestion, the company issued a statement claiming that there had still been 13 million sales of the game even with refunds factored in. The company will expect that Cyberpunk 2077 will also have a long tail of sales, and it’s to be expected (as was seen with The Witcher 3), that major game updates, DLC releases and discounts will all see the player count spike once more.

There’s also just the simple fact that this is a single player game. There’s no reliance on a gaming community on Twitch or on multiplayer servers for it to be considered a success, unlike with Games as a Service titles like Anthem and Marvel’s Avengers.

So yes, it’s a compelling statistic, but in the grand scheme of things, it matters very little to CD Projekt Red’s bottom line and the game’s future path through patches and expansions.

Source: GitHyp

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