After a much maligned rollout of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt RED is feeling the sting of the botched last-gen iteration of the game. That sting reaches all the way to the top, with the company’s founders losing an estimated $1.4 billion in stock value as the controversy has affected the bottom line.
While closing at an all-time high of $31.00 on Friday December 4th—likely in anticipation of a successful launch—the developer’s stock bottomed out at $20.50 on Tuesday December 15th, shortly following the December 10th launch. That’s one third of the company’s stock value gone in a span of 11 days, with much of the freefall happening post-launch. The company’s three founders and a fourth additional owner possess 34% of the total stock. Quick maths tell us that what was $4.5B on December 4th shrank to roughly $3B on December 15th.
Perhaps even more damning is the revised projection of the game’s sales by industry analysts. 12-month sales estimates for Cyberpunk 2077 have dropped 14% to 25.6M from 29.7M. So this isn’t expected to just be a blip on the radar. It’s actually going to damage the game’s success going forward.
After releasing PS4 and Xbox One versions of Cyberpunk 2077 that are fundamentally flawed and essentially broken, the company’s reputation and stock price have both taken a substantial hit. While the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 seems to run mostly fine outside of a few bugs, the last generation console versions are another story entirely. Severe pop-in, frame rates dropping into the teens, and constant crashes have frustrated and annoyed console gamers, leading to calls for refunds that nobody is taking seriously.
Delays happen, and we can all understand the need to finally get a big game out of the door. But it seems counterproductive to release a game in such a poor state that it can hurt your company’s reputation. A little thoughtfulness and honesty up front could have eased public expectation, saved employees from some serious crunch, and saved the founders a lot of money.
This debacle brings a certain Miyamoto quote to mind. Here’s hoping both the game and the studio can recover.