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Sony pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from its PlayStation Store only a week after its debut amid complaints of glitches in the video game created by Poland's CD Projekt.
The role-playing game, billed as an “open-world, action-adventure story set in ... a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour and body modification” and featuring Hollywood star Keanu Reeves, was delayed three times before its debut.
Sony's unusual move is another blow for CD Projekt, Poland's top video game maker, whose shares have tumbled from a record high last week as fans and game reviewers have voiced concerns.
CD Projekt, whose shares fell 12.2% on Friday, said the suspension was temporary and it was working hard to bring Cyberpunk back to PlayStation Store as soon as possible.
The launch of Cyberpunk, where gamers play as mercenary outlaw “V”, coincided with people being stuck at home during the pandemic.
While the coronavirus crisis has boosted demand for games, new titles are in short supply, meaning that those that have been launched have attracted particular attention.
Several big-ticket games like Microsoft's 'Halo Infinite' have also been delayed due to the challenge of developers being stuck at home during coronavirus restrictions.
Microsoft said it will offer full refunds to anyone who purchased the game digitally from the Microsoft Store but declined to comment on whether it planned to remove the game from its digital shelves.
Kicinski said in an emailed statement that CD Projekt was not in talks with Microsoft about a possible withdrawal of the console version of the game from the Xbox platform.
CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski said that when Cyberpunk was launched the company would have preferred to have fewer bugs, but it did not consider delaying for a fourth time.
He said there had been fewer external testers, as they were not able to try the game from home as a result of COVID-19.
“We are highly disappointed by the information, which shows that the game was just not ready to debut in December and the decision to launch it was a big mistake,” Kacper Kopron, an analyst at Trigon DM brokerage, said.
CD Projekt has promised to iron out the bugs with updates, with patches due in January and February.
Many of the issues with the game were reported on Sony's older PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. The gamers' frustration might have been exacerbated by the shortage of next-generation consoles, where the game runs better than on older ones.
“The game needed another six months of development to fix bugs and polish it. We wouldn't have liked it but having a better release than this would have been worth it,” John Vilnis, a gamer from Brisbane, Australia said.
CD Projekt, which gained prominence with its 'The Witcher' series to become one of Poland's biggest listed companies, was expected to break sales records with Cyberpunk, also launched on Google's Stadia.
Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment.