My, my, are we doing two pieces of news today?! However shall I manage?
First off, it’s been a tough week for CDPR, in news that will surprise only those who have been in a coma for the last week. But wait, this is not about Cyberpunk 2077! As if one dumpster fire was not enough, dear friends, now GOG, Projekt Red’s digital game distribution platform, has entered a controversy all its own, one that recalls Blizzard’s cowtowing to Chinese interests in the Blitzchung fiasco from last year (has it really been a little over a year?)
What’s all this about, then? Hours after Red Candle Games, the developer of the very good but controversial Devotion announced they would re-release the 2019 horror game on GOG, the CDPR-owned distributor’s Twitter account went on the record to back-track in the most spectacular, transparent way possible:
Now, I’m not saying that “many messages from gamers” can’t affect a store front like GOG–what I am saying is, this sounds like yet another lie on the Polish company’s part. This sudden 180 degree switch has little to do with the responses of gamers and everything to do with China. For all this to make sense, let’s summarize the controversy: A poster on a wall in Devotion mentioned Chinese president Xi Jinping and cartoon character Winnie The Pooh. You know how old Xi feels about those comparisons; Chinese have probably gone to prison for the kind of jokes and memes most of us have shared.
Developer Red Candle Games has suffered a great deal over this costly “temporary asset” as they have described the poster; their publisher, Indievent, had their business license revoked.What this move boils down to is a profit-driven decision on CDPR’s part. The company fears being penalized or entirely censured–I couldn’t find any numbers about the percentage of business GOG sees in China, but I imagine it’s a growing number overall. We have seen a great deal many companies go through these motions, and all to save their bottom line. CD Projekt Red is no different.
Not that this excuses it.
As for our second piece of news, it concerns my favourite current subscription service, Xbox Game Pass (for PC). It’s a small delay to a promised feature, the appearance of Electronic Arts’ EA Play. The appearance of EA Play will happen at some point during the next year, though no exact release window has been committed to. It appears that the Xbox Games Pass team is unhappy with the experience: ” In order to deliver on [the promise of giving a great experience for members ], we need more time to provide the Xbox Game Pass experience.”
Look at that. A big corporation hold back a service because they’re unhappy with the state it’s in. If only some other company could have done the same for their enormous, exciting product…
The feature image used above is from Jim Sterling’s latest video, Videogame Discourse: More Broken than Cyberpunk.