It’s hard to say what really went wrong with the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, but one this is for sure – nothing went according to plan. We waited a year for RDR2 to make it to PC and we probably should have waited longer. But, Rockstar decided to rush its release and, as such, we ended up with a game that launched in a non-working state – something that you wouldn’t expect from the game studio that wrote the book on porting games to PC when it did such an amazing job with Grand Theft Auto V.
When RDR2 launched on PC, it was exclusive to the Epic Games Store and Rockstars storefront, two things that limited its exposure anyway with some gamers claiming loyalty to their favorite stores. However, the initial launch was so bad that the game was unplayable for most, and even after some fast patches, it still remained buggy for at least the next month. All has been solved now, and the game is finally working as it should, but it was a long, bumpy road.
There’s no telling how many copies of RDR2 were bought on the Rockstar games story but, according to Superdata, only 408,000 copies were sold on Epic. Now that it’s out on Steam, you would think things would pick up a bit, but the all-time peak concurrent player count is just 51,403 – some seven times less that GTA’s peak of 360,671 – and it’s the definition of an old game at this point. For a game that saw sales peak at 17 million in the first 12 days of console launch the PC version hasn’t even touched 1 million – that’s how bad the botched launch has tainted the game of PC gamers.
In the end, Rockstar took a gamble by making RDR2 exclusive to Epic at launch and by launching before it was actually ready. Maybe Rockstar thought it could solve the initial problems right away or maybe it thought the large fanbase on console would help the game make it through rough waters. Either way, Red Dead Redemption 2’s PC launch will go down in the history books as one of the worst PC ports of all time and, because of that, people still don’t want to play the game on PC.
This, folks, is evidence of why it’s not worth it for game studios to rush a game’s release. Rockstar saw the potential for the game to make some money and took a chance by rushing its release to PC. In the end, all it did was hurt the studio’s credibility in the PC world and it casted a lot of shade on the game itself. Will RDR2 ever recover on PC? I wouldn’t hold my breath.