In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, Cyberpunk 2077 legitimately comes out very, very soon.
With that has come a leak; Apparently, physical copies went out from a retailer earlier than they were supposed to, and people are playing it.
They’re also streaming it.
As someone who has spent time in the (indie) game dev industry many, MANY years ago (unsuccessfully, I might add), I can say this: Work continues on up until the moment of release (and beyond), even 20 years ago before services like Steam and day-1 patches.
Taking the present into consideration, day-1 patches are pretty much par for the course now, especially in games as large as Cyberpunk 2077. By playing a game before it’s official release, you’re depriving yourself of said day-1 patches. This is especially important in this situation: Those discs were printed up with a solid core of the game, but there has always been a plan for patching any last-minute stuff after the fact that just can’t be done on the disc initially.
This can include anything from important content, features, or even performance tweaks and bugfixes.
By sharing what you’ve played early (without permission from the developers), you’re also giving a potentially misleading impression to other gamers about what the developers worked so hard on.
You may be thinking, “Eh, they are a big, AAA gaming company, why should I care?”
That’s the same argument used for piracy, and it’s still fallacious. Just because it is a larger, successful company doesn’t mean the people who have worked hard to produce the content deserve to get shafted like that. There are individuals who make up businesses; CD Project Red doesn’t exist as some singular entity for you to love or hate. It is composed of developers, artists, marketers, and yes, management.
Each person has a stake in the success or failure of Cyberpunk 2077, so let’s show some compassion, and stop the leaks. You’ll have plenty of time to judge the game based on it’s actual merits after the release date.