Esports was first conceptualized in 1972, at Stanford University, where the students were invited for an `Intergalactic Space war Olympics´, playing the Spacewar. In the 1990s, companies like Nintendo were organizing televised esports tournaments, for games like NBA Jam and Virtua Racing. After the internet boom in the 2000s, and with the introduction of online streaming on platforms like Twitch, the popularity of esports had exploded to reach new heights. Dedicated betting sites for esports accepted bets on tournaments of League of Legends and Dota 2. Global esports business is currently estimated to be more than $1 billion a year.
Video game developers churn out new titles each year. Gaming enthusiasts and esports fans eagerly await to get their hands on them to give them a try. One such eagerly awaited title for this year was Cyberpunk 2077. But things have not gone according to the plan for its developer and publisher, CD Projekt RED.
CD Projekt RED, famous for its `The Witcher´ franchise of games, set up a new division in Poland in 2016, for the pre-production of Cyberpunk 2077. It was even granted a $7 million aid by the Polish government in order to hire team members. The team had around 500 members, with the creator of the Cyberpunk franchise, Mike Pondsmith as a consultant. A new studio was set up, and the developer partnered with companies like Nvidia, Jali Research, QLOC, and Digital Scapes for real-time ray tracing, lip-syncing, quality assurance, and creating additional tools.
It is a first-person perspective game, designed to provide an immersive experience to the players. Set in a fictional open-world megapolis Night City in California, the player, playing as a mercenary V, is hired by a local fixer to steal the Relic, a mysterious biochip, from Arasaka Corporation. Accompanying V in this mission is his friend, Jackie Welles, a local thug. The plan goes awry and Welles is shot fatally, while V saves the chip by inserting it in his head. V is shot in the head but survives only to be haunted by Johnny Silverhand, who will take over V’s personality and memories within a few weeks, and V must find a way to remove Silverhand before it’s too late.
The PC version of the game was released on 10th December along with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia, with a promise for next-gen support for PlayStation and Xbox in 2021.
Arguably the most anticipated game of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 has sold 15 million copies so far, including pre-orders. Within 12 hours of launch, there were more than 1 million concurrent players on steam. Reviewers and critics lavished their praise on the immersive gaming experience, visual quality, and freshness.
Things went rapidly downhill for the game once it was launched. Soon after the release, players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been consistently complaining about dropped and choppy frames and literally finding the game unplayable. On PCs, even those using RTX 3090 GPU, Nvidia’s latest and most powerful graphics card, were not able to play at 60fps in 4K with maximum graphics. With upscaling using DLSS, the maximum frame rate achieved was close to 59, and without DLSS, it dropped to an abysmal 22 fps.
In addition to the drop in frame rates, players have also complained about game-breaking bugs, like `flying cars´ and NPCs in T pose. One of the weirdest bugs reported sees the genitals of characters constantly on display, even poking out through their clothing. For some players, their avatar of V is literally butt naked, riding around the town on a bike or a car, stuck in T pose.
Apologies, patches, and refunds
With such widespread bugs, the developers have apologized to the gamers, promising to roll out big updates and patches by January and February to considerably improve player experience. For those who are not willing to wait, the company has promised full refunds.
As per reports, Sony has pulled out the game from it’s PlayStation store until further notice, and is offering full refunds to customers, and so is Microsoft, although it has not pulled the game just as yet.
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