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Developer CD Projekt Red has said since March that it plans to make Cyberpunk 2077 available on most game-distribution platforms. This means that Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t an Epic Games Store exclusive. But now the studio is elaborating on why it is making that decision.
When Cyberpunk 2077 debuts April 16 on PC and consoles, you’ll have the option to get it on Steam, Epic Games Store, and CDPR’s own GOG (among others). This wide release is something of an anomaly in PC gaming recently. Epic Games, which owns and operates Fortnite, is spending millions of dollars to keep many blockbusters off of Steam. Even publishers with their own stores are making deals with Epic. Ubisoft, for example, launched Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 on Uplay and Epic — but not Steam.
So what’s different about Cyberpunk 2077 and CDPR? Well, it comes down to the company’s experience with The Witcher spinoff adventure Thronebreaker. In an interview with PCGamesN, GOG global communications manager Marcin Traczyk explained its reasoning.
“With Thronebreaker, we started with an exclusive and decided to share it with a wider audience,” Traczyk explained. “It proved to us that exclusives maybe don’t work for us because we don’t want to limit the number of people who can access the game.”
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Thronebreaker debuted last October. At first, Thronebreaker was only available on GOG. But after coming up short of sales expectations, the company opened it up to a wider audience on Steam as well.
“The game appeared on GOG first for fairly straightforward reasons,” CD Projekt Red chief executive Adam Kiciński said during a conference call with investors. “However, the reach of GOG is incomparably smaller than that of Steam. We know that there’s a large Witcher fan community on Steam and that’s why we also released the game there.”
So far, CD Projekt has seen a third of its digital PC preorders come through GOG. That is crucial for the studio because it doesn’t have to share a cut of that revenue with other platforms.
Cyberpunk isn’t exclusive, but GOG is still competing with Epic and Steam
CD Projekt Group first launched GOG, then called Good Old Games, in 2008. It has since used the platform to launch its own games as well as updated, DRM-free versions of PC classics. But while it has made this niche work, the company has never tried to seriously compete head-to-head with Steam.
Now, GOG is probably not going to try to emulate Epic’s business model either. CDPR is not going to launch Cyberpunk 2077 on Steam and Epic only to suddenly start paying for exclusives.
But that doesn’t mean GOG isn’t going to change.
“We always welcome competition,” Traczyk told PCGamesN. “And as with every business, we are adapting [our go-to-market] situation, But at the same time with the solutions that we’re offering, we’re giving players the ability to choose.”
GOG laid off dozens of employees in February of this year. So the company likely has never had any plans to try to beat Steam or Epic Games Store at their own game. Instead, expect the company to continue focusing on releasing classics and DRM-free games.
Correction: This article originally said that CD Projekt Red laid off GOG employees, but that is not correct. GOG runs independently from CD Projekt Red under the CD Projekt Group parent company.
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