CD Projekt Red sees profits plummet in 2021 thanks to Cyberpunk 2077 woes

    
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We reported yesterday that Cyberpunk 2077 had lost its top director, Adam Badowski, but as it happens, the latest news from the game is even grimmer: Apparently, while the game performed well in its launch quarter at the tail end of last year in spite of all its problems, sales have plummeted to the degree that CD Projekt Red’s profits fell by over 50% in Q2 2021. The company had been expecting profits of nearly $22M US but saw around $9M US.

“The general situation as long as we are not back on the Sony store has not changed,” a CDPR rep told investors. “One of the leading marketplaces for us is not available and we generate most of the sales on the PC/digital channels.”

That leading marketplace, of course, is PlayStation. Sony pulled the game from sale on PlayStation devices following the botched launch and refund debacle and has yet to return it to sale. Reuters notes that company shares have lost 60% of their pre-Cyberpunk-launch value. Four class-action lawsuits over the game have continued in a consolidated form, and we’re sure you haven’t forgotten the delay and crunch fiasco.

Really, Piotr Nielubowicz’s grimace in the thumbnail here sums it up.

Cyberpunk 2077, of course, is still a single-player game; plans that it would eventually launch a multiplayer version are apparently on hold.

Source: CDPR via Reuters. Cheers, Bruno.
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Sean Barfoot

Pre ordered this for PS4 and finally gave up and refunded last week. It’s never going to work on that machine to an acceptable standard. Believe me I’m no frame rate snob, but playing this was nausea inducing.

John Artemus
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John Artemus

The PC version is only saved by the modding community. That’s how I play it. Heavily modded.

The Weeb formerly known as Sray
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The Weeb formerly known as Sray

I think that the fact Sony had to know of the launch issues is a contributing factor in the reasoning behind not putting it back on their store: anything less than flawless performance will get them roasted for once again allowing a buggy product on their store. Microsoft keeping CP77 up for sale gives off an image of corporate greed, but they’re riding a wave of consumer goodwill with the appearance of their policies being built around “gamers first” that they can withstand that minor ding of bad PR, but Sony is a different story. Sony is pretty much in position that they can’t allow less than a perfect version of the game back on their store.

After that, add in bad blood over CDPR’s promising refunds in violation of Sony policy, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Sony rejected the PS5 version of CP77 compltely. They can say their reasoning is based on maintaining a position of looking out for their customers, while behind the scenes they’re actually throwing their weight around as a reminder to everyone that they are still the big dog in the console space. Even the PC version is still in lackluster shape, and game patching in the PC space isn’t regulated like consoles: it’s not unreasonable to think that CDPR might never be able to fully fix a launched game, especially in a console environment where they’re going to be expected to deliver perfection before being allowed to proceed. How much would Sony lose on such a move? Honestly, probably not much: the PR around the game is completely toxic at this point and there are a lot of people who simply won’t roll the dice on buying a non-refundable game that may or may not be only a slightly less buggy mess than what was launched. If them bullying CDPR leads to the end of CDPR in some fashion (likely a hostile takeover) that’s a good thing for Sony, as it demonstrates their power; and probably a good thing for consumers as many companies would likely change the “market a beta launch as a completed product” strategy if they see a triple A company taken down by the practice.

Just some wild speculation.

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texyFX

overhyped and underdelivered – release pressure, one of the many black pages of gaming culture.

although initial sales were (suprisingly) satisfying, the decline of revenue can not be simply excused (and explained) by the removal from Sonys marketplace. although missing out a large audience, the sales curve still indicates a more important factor: reputation.

a reputation not only compromised by PR-fiascos like the (broken) no-crunch policy, the gap of profit-shares (devs vs. execs) and CDPRs internal fight taken to public, but the failure to meet overhyped user expectations:
really simple, if a company promises the world, users legitimately expect the world.

CP77 released in beta state, with some systems still failing up to today. CP77 would have needed more time and (to stay polite) better and much more employee-focused management.

(not only) gaming culture still develops an understanding of human dignity and how basic human rights may be applied to its (/any) industry, so the CP77 fiasco is an ignored lesson still to be learned by publishers, studios and devs.

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Tee Parsley

Bad timing screwed up everything….CDPR messed up by chosing a too optimistic PS5 co-release date. And no telling who had their fingers on the scales there. Sony being unable to deliver a decent number of PS5s, and the general lackluster Xbox/PS release as a whole, had to hurt. CDPR had already delayed a number of release date times, and it was getting close to the ‘game company that cried Wolf!’

To paraphrase someone clever, “Better to delay and be thought stoopid, than to release and be proven so.”

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Schmidt.Capela

For the most part what I’m waiting for before I purchase the game is 3rd person PoV support, either by the game officially supporting it or as a properly working mod that doesn’t crash the game. Yeah, it’s still somewhat bugged, but for me modding support more than makes up for the amount of bugs it still has.

It’s not really that I wouldn’t play it in 1st person; rather, I’m not sure if I will ever want to do multiple playthroughs of the game and I’m fairly certain both that 3rd person support, official or by a mod, will be eventually available and that I will enjoy the game more in 3rd person. Together with how I have no lack of games to play and the fact the more I wait the cheaper it gets, it makes sense to only purchase it when I’m able to play the way I want.

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Knight Porter

Honestly, at this point I’m waiting on official or giving it a pass. Them pulling 3rd person from the design, what… less than a year (?) before release was when I stopped following it.

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Greaterdivinity

The mod already sorta exists it’s just…not great – https://www.pcmag.com/news/cyberpunk-2077-can-now-be-played-in-third-person-on-pc

The character models aren’t rigged/animated for full third person so a TON of stuff doesn’t really work well/look good at all, and it shows all the crazy stretching and weirdness that the “visible” parts of your character like your arms do during some of these animations.

Unless CDPR decides to officially support third person we’re probably stuck with first person and VERY janky third person views. I’d love official third person support as well, I find that I quite enjoy it in any game with any level of character customization like this.

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Danny Smith

I can’t think of a company thats burnt their reputation this bad. Like companies like EA or Blizzard might have a bad stink about them if you follow the news but theres still people who don’t know or care who will buy stuff they put out. But even the most mainstream consumer is acting like CDPR is the ultimate mark of shame.

From “the only big budget western dev with any soul left” during the witcher 3 to some folks to a complete write off with one release. Even Mass Effect 3 wasn’t this damaging to Bioware.

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traja

I doubt that it’s going to be all that impactful long term. CDPR won’t be coming out with another big title for a few years and by then people will be ready to get hyped up again.

Mass Effect Andromeda was the problematic one.

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psytic

If there is a Witcher 4 ill be first in line. Not pre-ordering of course learned my lesson on that front.

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Knight Porter

Bioware found itself on thin ice after ME3. Andromeda needed to be a home run to make things good, and it… wasn’t. (You could argue Andromeda was received better than ME3, but that’s not a high bar)

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Greaterdivinity

DA:I was pretty good, IMO, and it had a fairly decent reception. Not a hugely popular game, but solid. So they at least had that win in their corner between ME3/ME:A. It seems their sci-fi ventures (ME:A and Anthem) have struggled harder.

We’ll see what is in store for DA4 whenever that’s ready to be officially revealed, but at least they have the ME Trilogy release to get folks to forget ME:A/Anthem a bit before their next release.

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Greaterdivinity

As bad as this may be, this is kinda good news. We need more companies taking big stock value hits like this for rushing out games to disincentivize it down the road. I’m thrilled to see CDPR and FDevs stock price going down following what was clearly a release rushed out to make quarterly reports.

I’d be curious as to why Sony hasn’t brought it back yet though. From what I’ve read the patches make it at least playable for the most part and iron out a lot of the worst issues. Still rough, but no rougher than many of the games on the platform.

Thought about picking it up on EGS (it’s like $35 with the coupon, those coupons are great!) but I can keep waiting until they patch more and the game goes on deeper sale. Ain’t got time for it right now anyways.

I just wish this came purely out of executive/management pay/bonuses and didn’t trickle down to the actual teams.

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Bruno Brito

Misery is the only thing that trickles down. And it pours hard.

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squid

I’d be curious as to why Sony hasn’t brought it back yet though. From what I’ve read the patches make it at least playable for the most part and iron out a lot of the worst issues. Still rough, but no rougher than many of the games on the platform.

Didn’t CDPR promise refunds on the Playstation store before asking Sony about it? Might be bad blood, at this point.

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Greaterdivinity

I think, but not in a bad way. Sony has a refund policy and CDPR told players to take advantage of it, just as they did on other platforms. Sony seems a bit more miffed at the quality of the game itself (which honestly they shouldn’t have been, the bloody thing and all patches passed cert so they should have known the garbage that would be released).

Bad blood is a bad reason to keep it off too, the worst of the PR nightmares have passed and they’re just losing potential revenue by keeping it off the store.

Then again this is Sony we’re talking about, and neither they nor Microsoft are exactly the most internally organized or consistent companies : |

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Vanquesse V

Sony has one of the most restrictive refund policies, so CDPR just casually saying that Sony will handle refunds no questions asked without talking to Sony beforehand when that kind of refunds is not part of what Sony normally offers.
It feels like Sony making an example of CDPR because there was no way they didn’t know the state of the game since they approved it themselves, and why would they do that if they considered the product to be faulty (a faulty product is the only valid reason for a refund after the fact on playstation network).

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jealouspirate

I suspect Sony will wait until the PS5-specific version is completed and only release that one.

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Greaterdivinity

It’s weird, because they’re missing out on plenty of revenue from PS4 version sales as well. PS5 version will be nice, but PS5’s are still far from as widespread as PS4’s (and will be for some years while supplies remain limited) so that’s a big section of the audience they’re both missing out on.

I could totally see the PS4 version getting re-listed when the PS5 version comes out though, that makes a lot of sense.

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jealouspirate

Performance on the base model PS4 was atrocious. Even discussing it as “performance” is too generous – it was just unplayable. The game would need a tremendous amount of work to be acceptable on those models, and I certainly don’t blame Sony for not trusting CDPR to deliver.

I do think there’s a lot of bad blood too. CDPR released the game on base PS4 knowing how completely terrible it was. When CDPR told Sony it was ready to be certified, Sony trusted them. That trust was betrayed. Then there’s the whole issue of CDPR offering refunds to people who actually didn’t qualify for one according to Sony’s policy.

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Greaterdivinity

From what I’ve seen it’s MUCH improved on baseline hardware. The Digital Foundry videos look pretty good overall. Still rough, but pretty much “par for the course” nowadays for better or worse.

As for Sony being mislead…I don’t buy that at all. Sony certified the build they were given, and were aware of any day-one patches that would have also gone through certification. They may have believed CDPR that they’d fix issues quickly post-launch, and that’s fair, but there’s no reason to believe that Sony was oblivious to the expansive issues. Again, they certified the bloody launch build for release.

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angrakhan

That’s really unfortunate. I had such high hopes for this game. What’s worse is from the Steam reviews I’ve seen post the latest patches all that the fixes accomplish is showing how thin the actual game is once it’s working. So… I just don’t see a point in the near future where this debacle is going to turn around for CDPR. Lawyers are stupidly expensive, these lawsuits aren’t going away any time soon, and the game isn’t going to suddenly start earning piles of money to pull them out of the hole. Personally I’m waiting for a 50% or greater sale on the game before I buy it just based on the negative reviews still coming out of Steam.

And we wonder why developers play it safe with the same old formulas instead of taking risks with new types of gameplay…

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Greaterdivinity

While they were extremely ambitious in their marketing (remember when NPC’s were supposed to have their own routines and personalities and then…they were seemingly using copy/pasted behaviors from W3?), was there anything that “risky” about the game?

I’m struggling to think of any proper “risks” they took with it other than working on a genre they hadn’t worked on before (FPS) >.>

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angrakhan

Nope. Didn’t say anywhere in my post that they took a bunch of risks. My point with the last sentence was that if a seemingly slam dunk project like Cyberpunk 2077 can end in disaster and put an entire company’s financial health at risk it’s no wonder game developers play it so safe.

Sorry that wasn’t clear.

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Vanquesse V

I think the risk was in the scope of it all. When you look at the systems in cp77 it feels like every one of them was planned to be much more than they ended up being.
Every part of the game is the bare minimum (or less) level of complexity and interoperability with other adjacent systems.

If they fix all the bugs, you can enjoy the pretty sights and see the main story unfold, but the game will still look and feel fake because every part of the simulation is a placeholder.

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Ozzie

The systems part sounds like how Star Citizen would be if they said “hey we’re just gonna ship soon.”

If they planned for much higher complexity and interoperability, it’s not all that easy to cut it off and still be interesting. Difference being CP77 was forced to ship and SC isn’t. I say it’s definitely a big risk shooting for that scope, because if you can’t reach it then it’s less than the sum of its parts.