Issues around Cyberpunk 2077 and online gaming as a social lifeline

After almost a decade in the making, the premiere of the hyped Cyberpunk 2077 game made headlines  with problems around the product rather than its quality. Great reviews from the critics followed a big marketing campaign featuring Keanu Reeves. But the game is full of issues, especially on the older generations of consoles – Playstation 4 and Xbox One. A fact that was undisclosed before the premiere. Now, the studio behind it has to face the consequences: the biggest online shops promised refunds, the company’s stock is losing several dozen percent, and some of the investors are threatening to sue.

An Internet community of over half a million people treats reality as “a free-to-play MMORPG with 7 billion+ active players”. They tell real-life stories the way they would describe a video game experience, calling their age “levels”, events “quests” and some of the threats or catastrophes “bugs” that hopefully will be resolved with the coming updates. Some of the users feel that this approach helps them cope with life problems: “(…)if you gamify it, it suddenly becomes less serious and less threatening, because it doesn’t matter to you as an individual. It matters to your character.”

Online gaming has become a social lifeline in the pandemic time.  Gamers have created online communities for years now – sometimes making long-lasting friendships. Now, people new to spending that much time in front of the screens experience a similar community. It helps them keep mental balance, and even the World Health Organization has acknowledged the importance of online relationships.