Cyberpunk 2077’s Disastrous Launch Doesn’t Put a Dent in Video Games’ Boom

Whenever there is an economic downturn, investors often turn to safe havens to protect their earnings. These are typically industries such as consumer staples and, most often, includes things like tobacco or liquor firms. And the question always arises during these times: Are video games a safe-haven investment?

Well, if 2020 is any guide, it would seem so because this year is going down in the books as one of record-breaking revenues for the industry.

The major concern is whether or not this will continue as life returns to normal.

Many analysts think that this trend will continue, if not accelerate, in the coming years as gaming is normalized as a form of entertainment and as an alternative choice to streaming television, music, or movies.

Nielsen’s analysis firm SuperData backs this up, citing the willingness of consumers to invest in expensive new hardware even as the economy itself is relatively unstable.

“Even in this economic state, we see a lot of people willing to put down $500 for a new console…We don’t foresee anything sort of gaming crash due to economic factors because there are a lot of people stuck at home, shifting discretionary spending into gaming,” said SuperData’s Carter Rogers to CNN.

What makes all of this even more impressive is the fact that 2020 also witnessed some major failures in the industry. Besides the titular Cyberpunk 2077 that has called hype culture, gaming reviews, and everything else into question, massive failures such as Microsoft’s Twitch challenger Mixer and Amazon’s clumsy attempts at making a video game stand out not just because of who backed them but also due to the amount of money seemingly set on fire with those projects.

Oddly, one player that had failed to make much of a case for its existence, Stadia, is seeing renewed industry exactly because of Cyberpunk 2077’s failures on current consoles. The game not only runs well on Stadia, it looks spectacular. True, the Stadia didn’t roar out of the gates the way everyone expected it would (or at least hoped), its performance with 2020’s most hyped game is noteworthy.

The problem is whether or not Google will tough it out or cut and run just as it is getting good.

They seem to be aware of this very wariness on the part of gamers, too.

Stadia games director Jack Buser told CNN: “The games business is a tough business… There’s a reason why there hasn’t been a major new entrant into the gaming space since the Xbox in the early 2000s….Have we made mistakes? Absolutely. Have we learned from those mistakes? Absolutely. Will we make mistakes in the future? I’m sure we will. Right. And that’s part of what it means to be in this business. But one thing is for sure: we are committed to it.”

One thing that is really promising about Stadia, especially in light of the Cyberpunk debacle, is that it truly offers developers an almost unlimited amount of processing power to put their dream to silicon. It will be interesting to see where the cards fall for it moving forward.

What do you think the new console generation is going to be like? What are some things that you are looking forward to in the near future? Where do you see VR landing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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$500K Retro Game Collection Tossed Into the Trash

When you go viral, you want to go big but necessarily in this way. After all, having a $500,000 retro video game collection is, by itself, newsworthy. Having that collection unceremoniously dumped into the trash is beyond viral – it’s nearly legendary.

Apparently, that’s what happened to one gamer who left his massive collection back at his parent’s house. In a story that has spread everywhere but is still somewhat shrouded in mystery, a gamer in New York relayed his story on Twitter. Gamer Rant reports that he is an employee of New York City’s J&L Gaming and had kept his extensive collection of games back at his parents’ place.

The collection included 500 plus PlayStation games, most of them sealed according to the poster in a now-deleted Twitter thread. It’s hard to tell whether it was deleted because it is fake or deleted because of the implicit threat to kill someone he made according to Gamer Rant, “People are gonna die. I just found out my mom a few years ago threw out ALL my PS1 games. 500+ games half still sealed. I am going to kill somebody.”

The collection didn’t just include the PSX games but also older consoles some of which are worth quite a lot of money on the market. That includes the original NeoGeo AES, Ataris, a Super Famicom, and much more.

And it gets even worse because the purge was not done with just the video games. The mother in question also threw out all of this hapless gamer’s music equipment as well as a comic book collection. Perhaps most pertinent to the current trend of trading in rare Pokemon and Magic the Gathering cards, the Twitter user also said his rare Magic cards were thrown away, too.

To put this into perspective, we reported not too long ago on the rare copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 that sold for some $175,000 at auction. That’s our way of saying that retro games can certainly make you boatloads of cash, especially if well preserved.

The real question, though, is how does someone throw away so much stuff without even attempting to monetize it at all. Either this person’s mother is one of the most wasteful human beings on the planet or he did something for her to exact this bridge-burning revenge. It’s tough to imagine someone tolerating that amount of stuff in their home for years on end only to toss it all out one day. But, like we said, the Twitter thread is now deleted so who knows what is going down here. To conclude: Cool story, bro.

But, really, we hope some gamer didn’t lose his whole collection.

What would you do if this happened to you? Does this story make sense to you or are you like us and think some detail is missing? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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Survey Shows Everyone Plays Video Games Now

There’s little doubt that COVID-19 has proven tough for a lot of people. But when the going gets tough, apparently, the tough start gaming because a recent survey shows that huge numbers of people picked up our favorite holiday during the pandemic.

And we’re not just talking about a little bit of lockdown smartphone Candy Crush here and there.

As we’ve reported in the past several weeks, games are selling like wild and many people attribute that to the unique conditions this year has brought. I mean, Animal Crossing was a thing at one point in the popular media, let’s not forget that. If you had told me ten years ago that Animal Crossing would be a thing and discussed on a massive scale, I would not have believed you but here we are.

Yet it’s not like this hasn’t been a huge year for games in general. Surprisingly, the arrival of next-gen consoles has not slowed the pace of triple-A blockbuster games coming out this year. It seems like everyone is having their day in the sun and helping the industry break records at the same time in terms of revenue.

A survey by NPD Group revealed that a whopping 79% of US consumers play games regularly now. One of the biggest demographics to show an increase in gaming is the 65+ age group, a segment that will get quite large as more and more people retire in developed nations around the world.

But back to the 79%. That’s not a small number. You mean to tell us that 8 out of 10 people game now? Does gamer mean anything?

How that is possible we’ll never know but we’re certain this dataset includes the occasional smartphone gaming. There’s also proof that’s not all that is going on out there.

Take, for example, Cyberpunk 2077’s record-shattering one million concurrent players on Steam the other day. That’s an awful lot of people playing one game and it speaks to the broader movements in the industry. Another interesting number out of the Cyberpunk 2077 saga is that a full 80% of sales so far were for digital-only copies of the game. If you were wondering when the sea change to digital and streaming was coming, it’s looking like the tide is coming in if 2020 is anything to use as a judge.

The biggest question that analysts – and likely investors as well as game company management – has right now is whether or not 2020 is a blip on the radar in terms of the growth of the industry or if we’re seeing the beginnings of a new age of gaming. Sadly, to be cliche, only time will tell.

What do you think about the concept of everyone as a gamer? Do you see evidence of this among your friends and contacts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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China Permits First Korean Game in 4 Years

There’s little doubt that the Chinese market is growing fast and that the economy will soon displace the United States if not rival it for years to come. That said, the video game industry is still somewhat in its nascent stages even with titans like Tencent on the scene.

And, just like movies, you better have a toehold in the domestic market in the PRC because there is money to be made there.

So you can only imagine how painful it must have been for Korean game developers to be denied access to this massive and growing market for nearly four years. Yet that changed just recently with the first approval of a Korean game for release in the Chinese domestic market.

The game Summoners War was permitted for sale in the Chinese market it appears as a result of cooling tensions between the governments of South Korea and China. Developed by Com2us, the game is a landmark in many ways unrelated to gaming, namely because it is the first to get through but also it calls attention to the whole reason this embargo existed in the first place.

The Financial Times reports that the reason no new games were approved for domestic consumption in China from Korea is because of the ROK’s decision to permit a United States missile defense system on their soil. Ostensibly to protect the ROK from an attack from its neighbor to the North, the system could, theoretically, be used against the PRC as well.

This story draws attention to the fact that some pretty tough measures can be implemented by the Chinese government should its trading partners displease it. Other examples of this exist in sports as well as movies with content adjusted to meet political correctness standards and athletes and officials being criticized for perceived anti-PRC statements. For South Korea, long enjoying the economic boon that the export of its products and popular culture has created, such partnerships are crucial to its overall trade strategy.

On the trading side of things, analysts see this as a positive development between the two countries.

SK Securities’ Lee Jin-man told the Financial Times of the deal, “It is certainly a positive signal for Korean game makers and entertainment firms as China is a very important market for them…But it remains to be seen whether China will begin to open its market for Korean cultural exports in earnest, because their decision is closely linked to geopolitical issues.”

It just goes to show you that video games can be about more than, well, fun and games. The interesting thing to watch in the future will be how this impacts gaming in a broader sense as Chinese games and the domestic market there become more influential.

What do you think of China’s presence in the gaming industry? Do you think the country will become a major market for gaming? How about developing games? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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CD Projekt Red Won’t Discuss Cyberpunk 2077 DLC Until After the Game’s Launch

We’re a little over a week away from one of the most anticipated game releases of the decade and already our minds are turning to what’s next.

It’s gotta be tough being a developer with that kind of audience, eh?

But maybe we’re just so excited about Cyberpunk 2077 that we already can’t get enough. Or maybe we are just gamers and this is what we do.

Either way, CD Projekt Red is going to be absolutely mum on DLC for the gaming until the actual product ships.

Like we said, that should be soon but this game does love its delays. In fact, so much so, that delaying Cyberpunk is becoming an expected cultural feature on the gaming landscape.

Yet we did get some glimpses of the impending future in the form of boxloads of game discs waiting to go out. Apparently, it is happening folks.

As for what kind of DLC the game will bring, who knows on that front. What many people have latched on to in the past several days though is the dev’s promise of a multiplayer mode. This isn’t unexpected given that the property is itself drawn from a tabletop RPG IP but it does point towards an interesting future for the game should everything pan out.

President and joint-CEO Adam Kiciński of CD Projekt Red is quoted as saying, “The initial plan was to do it before release, but after the recent delay, we decided to wait for the release to provide gamers with the game and then start talking about future projects. So, after release.”

Video Games Chronicle also reports that KiciĹ„ski promised the Cyberpunk 2077 would have as much additional content as The Witcher III. That’s quite a bar to set for the company given that The Witcher III had no less than two major story expansions and tons of content in between. Games cost so much to make these days that it is really no wonder that publishers want to get the most out of it, but this is especially true when the game has taken this long – and built up this much hype – to come to shelves.

As for the multiplayer add-on, it is being treated as its own game in terms of production.

“It’s a separate dedicated production, a big production…And we plan — we think about it as a standalone product. Obviously, it’s not entirely standalone as it comes from the universe of Cyberpunk and is very much related to the concept of single-player Cyberpunk. …It’s another independent production and [an] independent team of people works on it…. I said already we are not focusing right now on talking too much about other future products, products that are to be released after Cyberpunk. So please be with us in the first quarter of next year when we plan to share some strategy update. And I believe Cyberpunk multiplayer will be possible.”

Are you picking up Cyberpunk 2077 on day one? What are your expectations for the game – and any DLC we might see down the road? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

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