Despite Everything, Cyberpunk 2077 Was A Steam Top Seller & Most-Played Title In 2021

Despite Everything, Cyberpunk 2077 Was A Steam Top Seller & Most-Played Title In 2021
Screenshot: CD Projekt Red

Perhaps it was an understatement when we said Cyberpunk was having its first “good day” when it creeped its way to the top of the Steam charts earlier this year. As it turns on, the beleaguered role-playing game, which has received a number of updates since its dumpster fire of a release, was quietly trucking along all of 2021 on at least on one storefront.

On Monday, PC giant Valve released a bunch of juicy info regarding what did well on its popular platform. There’s a lot of stuff in there that you wouldn’t expect, at least compared to popular media and community narratives. Battlefield 2042 is selling really well despite little hype, but perhaps I should expect that when it has an advertising campaign so pervasive it has now replaced my nightly paralysis demon. Amazon MMO New World, Valheim, and Naraka: Bladepoint, are some nice, totally new inclusions to the top seller list as well. Then you’ve got the obligatory inclusions, like Dota 2 and the completely unkillable GTA V.

Cyberpunk 2077 did not make the “Platinum” cut, where those games reside, but it did make an appearance a stone throw down onto the “Silver” tier, where games like Resident Evil Village live. What’s worth noting is that “top sellers” doesn’t denote number of copies, but rather revenue, something that takes into account copies but also in-game transactions and DLC. A game like Cyberpunk, which is single-player and doesn’t yet feature microtransactions or DLC, likely has a hard time stacking up against games that heavily feature online experiences. Many of those multiplayer games have entirely different business models, and they don’t have all that other stuff weighing them down.

2021 was, by all accounts, an uphill battle for Cyberpunk and its developers. Remember, CD Projekt Red started the year with Cyberpunk 2077 still delisted from the PlayStation store due to its rough state, and to make matters worse, had a giant security breach that saw game source code get held for ransom. Updates have been doled out throughout the year, and promises of next-gen versions, DLC, and more updates continue to come — but so have reports about apparent crunch. And even when some things were resolved, like its eventual return to PSN, it wasn’t all merry: in that case, Sony warned users the game was still janky.

Now, despite all of that, we do know that the game was profitable for the studio from the get go due to the sheer number of hype-based pre-orders and such. What you wouldn’t necessarily expect is for that money to keep trickling in even after all the headlines and glitch compilations. Granted, the game has indeed recruited some fervent evangelists who love it despite all the flaws, or perhaps saw no flaws, if they played on a powerful enough machine. Yes, the game has received countless number of fixes, but there are still plenty of reports of technical issues. You’re not exactly seeing a No Man’s Sky type turnaround here. And yet!

Money coming in must mean people, right? While was a little further down the list on the $ front, on the raw time front, it killed. It’s literally the first entry Valve cites under the “Over 200,000 peak concurrent players,” a category that excludes anything that had its numbers juiced due to things like say, a free weekend.

Obviously, this is just one platform out of a handful, and it’s specifically the one where Cyberpunk’s core fanbase resides: after all, said base sprouted from GOG, CD Projekt Red’s own PC storefront. Still, perhaps 2022 will be a less quiet year for the developer: free next-gen upgrades will give those who didn’t request a refund an excuse to take a second look, and everyone else might get enticed by the DLC if they play their cards right. Cyberpunk 2077 is on sale on Steam for 50% off ATM, if all of this has piqued your interest. I for one will continue to wait.

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading more about what did well on Steam in 2021, check out the full spread here. Fun fact: November saw the biggest number of totally new top sellers.


  • “Obviously, this is just one platform out of a handful, and it’s specifically the one where Cyberpunk’s core fanbase resides:”

    Shouldn’t that read ‘not the one’ since GOG would be where the core fanbase resides? I think Zathras would have words regarding not the one’

    The timing of the article is funny, since I’d spent last night calmly telling my nephew that no, Cyberpunk wasn’t completely broken on PC, and yes it was at launch, and still is now, post-patch a good game. But he gets all his ‘facts’ from youtubers and their ilk as opposed to people that actually played the game on decent machines.

    • Exactly. Does it have issues? yes, Was buggy? yes it was ans till is, But here the thing it was no more buggy than any Bethesda Game Studioes game (Fallout and TES)

  • I played through at launch on PS5. It was great with a few bugs. I’m actually looking forward to playing through again once the new versions are released.

  • You can get it for $30 on epic atm if you use their weird, reusable $15 voucher thingo. I’m probably still gonna wait for the inevitable ultimate edition in a few years tho tbf.

  • “You’re not exactly seeing a No Man’s Sky type turnaround here. And yet!”
    That took 3 fucking years to be done and the devs went off the air 1 month after launch and we heard nothing from them in that time.

    Yet the bigger difference here is that the Devs and Sean Murray werent hounded every single day and month by the games media trying to keep the hate train going.

    • I disagree, NMS and devs stayed in the news cycle for a long time, the difference with CP2077 was that it just kept on getting into the news for new reasons – reports of crunch, the massive hack, the apology, the lawsuits, Sony pulling the game etc. etc.

      NMS didn’t at all acheive what it promised, but my friends that bought it on console at launch still enjoyed it and found it playable, while one of those same friends got into the first firefight in CP2077 on PS4 couldn’t play any further because by his, and a lot of other people’s standards, it was outright unplayable.

      I’m a PC guy by preference myself, but I hate how so many of the PC crowd, including many in these comments, make excuses for the game because it ran fine on their platform. You mention elsewhere it’s just as buggy as a Bethesda title, except usually those titles are actually functional when they don’t bug out, and a PC version that’s acceptable doesn’t excuse the versions they sold that weren’t. A game dipping below 15fps in firefights isn’t acceptable, yet they sold the game on platforms that couldn’t play it. The management deserve all the shit they’re getting after they butchered the work of the devs, and sadly still got financially rewarded for it.

  • Lol console peasant surprised PC game is good. Seriously though, FPS are MADE for PC because of how demanding they are on the hardware.
    The game I played was no buggier than any other AAA release, it clearly required a decent rig to run it.

  • If you have a current gen system and you like; open worlds, immersive sims, story rich RPGs, quirky humor, Keanu Reeves, stealth games, action RPGs or dark, dystopian, human stories then Cyberpunk 2077 comes highly recommended.

  • Some people will play any old trash.

    Cyberpunk was and will always be a poorly designed game.

    No amount of patching can fix that.

  • Its my game of the year… and I think to me it says more about the lack of quality AAA monster titles this year (like seriously why is Deathloop getting so many nods)

    Cyberpunk 2077 delivered a quality open world RPG… version 1.0 for PC.
    Despite the over hype and pre-release fanboying, the disaster console port releases… it is a good new intellectual property for an open world adventure RPG

    Every mechanic in the game is good, but as you play it, you do see the cracks and cut content, but honestly thats every open world game especially Ubisoft and Bethesda, surprisingly for me less buggy… so it never really felt Next Gen to me, just current gen.

  • I liked it but it’s missing a heck of a lot of basic features and it really needed a couple of more years in development.

    Setting wise I think it was probably a mistake to jump the timeline ahead to 2077 when the 2020 world is more developed.

    I just feels like they cut so many corners to get it out the door.

  • I do remember carefully infiltrating an apartment building, getting to the 3rd floor, jumping over a couch and then being thrown back and falling.

    I was 4 km away and now swimming in the bay haha

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!