Cyberpunk 2077 was in a notoriously rough state on last-gen consoles when it launched last year, to the point that Sony kicked it off the PlayStation Store outright. It remained unavailable on the PlayStation platform for a full six months, until it was finally returned on June 21 with a warning from Sony that it still runs like crap.
"IMPORTANT NOTICE: Users continue to experience performance issues with this game," the Cyberpunk 2077 page on the PlayStation Store says, right at the very top. "Purchase for use on PS4 systems is not recommended. For the best Cyberpunk experience on PlayStation, play on PS4 Pro and PS5 systems."
That official pessimism, plus bad word of mouth and a Metacritic aggregate score of just 57%, does not appear to have dampened interest in the game: According to a PlayStation Blog update, Cyberpunk 2077 was the top downloaded game on the PlayStation 4 in both North America and Europe, beating out GTA5, FIFA 21, NBA 2K21, and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War, despite being available for purchase for only nine days.
It's unexpected, but perhaps not all shocking. Cyberpunk 2077 was a buggy mess at launch and its scope was more restrictive than many CD Projekt fans were expecting, but it wasn't a fundamentally bad game: As James said in his comprehensive review, it's "a pretty good RPG in an amazing setting absolutely sick with bugs."
In June, shortly after Cyberpunk's return to the PlayStation Store, CD Projekt declared that the game was at a "satisfactory level" of stability, and while that's a far cry from declaring the job done (and CD Projekt Red CEO Adam Kiciński promised that work will continue), it does indicate that the foundation is now at least reasonably solid. Digital Foundry testing found that to be largely the case: While it's still far from perfect, Cyberpunk 2077 now performs better and is much less prone to crashing, even on a base PlayStation 4.
Another possible factor in Cyberpunk's popularity is that owners of the current release will get a free upgrade to the next-gen version for PlayStation 5 when it comes out later this year. For anyone who currently has a PlayStation 5, or is expecting to pick up one anytime soon, there's no reason (aside from holding out for a sale, I suppose) not to pick it up now.
Whatever the reason, the strong bounceback is good news for CD Projekt. The studio said in its Q1 2021 financial report that the results of its CD Projekt Red division "will significantly depend on the sales volume of games set in the Cyberpunk and The Witcher universes," which will be impacted significantly by "the return of Cyberpunk 2077 to the PlayStation Store." How well that interest will hold up over the long run remains to be seen, but this strong start has to be encouraging.