CDPR Ransom Hack Reveals Toxic Culture in the Gaming Community

CD Projekt Red Cyberpunk
CD Projekt Red have fallen victim to a major hacking attack, and are now being held to ransom. (Credit: CD Projekt Red)

By now you will have heard about CD Projekt Red's recent hack, where a number of criminals threatened to release information if the Cyberpunk 2077 developer doesn't pay their ransom. You also will have heard that CD Projekt Red has refused demands, and is preparing to weather the storm. Sadly, you would have also seen the toxic attacks and jeers coming from the crowd.

The CD Projekt Red hack has exposed some pretty serious problems in our beloved industry. Toxicity in journalism, toxicity in influencers, and toxicity in what I'd like to call 'butt-hurt' gamers who are saddened by disappointment. Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 was a disappointment, yes it was broken, but get over it already.

I want to make something very clear here: you are not cool for having a 'f**k you' attitude towards people you don't even know.

Cyberpunk when plastic surgery goes wrong bug
Let's not decapitate our industry with this negativity! (Credit: CD Projekt Red)

What is the most egregious thing about the latest bout of online griefing and jeering, is its source: a ransom-hack attack against CD Projekt Red (CDPR). Cyberpunk 2077, CDPR's most recent release, launched back in December to poor reception, due to severe performance problems. It was also in critical need of an exterminator to get rid of all those pesky bugs.

The attitude from the press has been a mixed bag, but predominantly negative, and this is understandably so. What is also understandable, is the negativity of the fans towards CDPR's gaffe - but even then, DON'T PREORDER GAMES, folks. CDPR has repeatedly failed to rebuild the good-will of fans, but it is getting a bit extreme at this point.

CDPR's hack was an act committed by criminals. It is illegal, and could be very bad for the employees of the embattled game developer. That being said, the move to refuse payment of the ransom was absolutely the right decision, as history tells us that if you pay the ransom, the data gets released anyway.

This gives CDPR 48 hours to prepare for damage control, but it also needs to be a message to journalists like myself. We have a responsibility not to publish unnecessarily hurtful information, especially information that is not in the public interest. Whoever these 'journalists’ are that the hackers referred to in the ransom note, the ones that will apparently publish the information, they need to take a long hard look at themselves.

Look at yourself

It's not just that, either. It's also those who are out there jeering on the hackers, whilst s***ting on CDPR. They should take a long hard look at themselves too. This is not justice over Cyberpunk 2077, this is criminal, and it could endanger lives, expose personal information, and harm an employer and game developer. Keep in mind that until recently, CDPR was a hero in the industry.

Much like the ransom letter, which read like a petulant child pulling a tantrum, some of these public personalities (not going to name names) have been, frankly, embarrassing. There are questions that need to be answered, yes. How can this happen? Why was CDPR able to be hacked in the first place? But gaming is, at its core, about fun, and about the art-form. Why not enter these conversations with a little more positivity?

Cyberpunk 2077 living world
Cyberpunk 2077 was a beautiful, but flawed game. That being said, no one deserves the abuse some of the devs have been getting. (Credit: CD Projekt Red)

These questions won't be answered if people have so much negativity that they won't even discuss the operative questions. CDPR's statement said what it had to, it stood up, and it took responsibility. Maybe everyone else should also step up and take some responsibility.

We have reached out to CD Projekt Red for comment regarding the recent data breach, as well as their perspective on toxicity in the gaming industry. As of writing, they are yet to respond, but when or if they do, we will be letting you know right here at EarlyGame.

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