Cyberpunk 2077 has sold more than 13 million copies, despite launch disaster and refunds

Image: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 has already sold more than 13 million copies since its launch two weeks ago, according to the parent company of developer CD Projekt Red.

The sales milestone, revealed in an investor note from CD Projekt S.A. on Tuesday, is a remarkable one considering it accounts for some digital and physical refunds resulting from the game’s messy launch. That metric is counting sales between the game’s release on December 10th through December 20th, the note says. It’s about half of the 12-month sales forecast analysts projected for the game shortly after launch but before digital storefronts said they would begin accepting refunds, Bloomberg reports.

Selling 13 million copies makes Cyberpunk 2077 one of the bestselling games of the year, though it still lags far behind the top 50 bestselling games of all time and CD Projekt Red’s last big hit, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which has sold more than 28 million copies across all platforms. Still, few games ever sell more than 10 million copies, and to break into the top 50 of all time you need only sell more than 19 million copies (to beat out NES classic Super Mario Bros. 3).

It’s likely Cyberpunk 2077 sales could soar far higher once the studio fixes more of its bugs and the game is rereleased on the PlayStation Store. Sony pulled the game last week and began processing digital refunds for unsatisfied buyers.

The financial success of the roleplaying game stands in stark contrast with its public perception as a multifaceted failure, a fact that has only intensified criticism of CD Projekt Red and also raised the possibility of a class action lawsuit. That something can be that successful while also being considered a deeply compromised product is also a stunning indictment of the current video game industry and its marketing and preorder model.

Because the studio promised the game would run well on current-generation consoles, it was able to accumulate more than 8 million preorders for Cyberpunk 2077, effectively covering the costs of the game’s nearly decade-long development cycle in single-day sales. Meanwhile, the studio took efforts to allegedly hide the performance of the game on those systems from media outlets ahead of time, according to a report from The New York Times.

Unlike other forms of media, which can often be easily assessed in a standardized format, video games require extensive first-hand experience on a variety of platforms for the full extent of a product’s overall quality to become clear. Without that knowledge ahead of time, millions of people purchased Cyberpunk 2077, only to discover its flaws later once players began posting clips online and assessing the game’s various bugs and performance issues on message boards.

Hence the refund campaign, which was its own whirlwind of controversy after CD Projekt Red revealed it had not hammered out formal refund agreements with its retail partners before advising customers ask for their money back.

But if there’s any silver lining here, it’s that a project as huge and ambitious and, ultimately, over-hyped as Cyberpunk 2077 is now a teachable moment for customers and developers alike about treating major game releases with more skepticism and requiring more transparency around the quality of a product before placing a preorder.

Comments

Because the studio promised the game would run well on current-generation consoles, it was able to accumulate more than 8 million preorders for Cyberpunk 2077

Fun fact about those pre-orders: Nearly 60% of pre-orders for Cyberpunk were on PC.

I mean, 40 percent of 8 million is still 3.2 million people and nearly quarter of all buyers of the game so far. And only a small, indeterminate fraction of those players have a next-gen console. So that’s a lot of people playing a game that does not run all that hot on the device they own.

I don’t know why anyone got this for a "last gen" consul. Even a few years ago we saw significant graphical differences between good (I don’t mean absolute top, I just mean good) PC hardware and consul performance. With a game that was broadly acknowledged to be pushing the limits of hardware performance for even good PC hardware THIS YEAR, and that can, at top settings, even make the actual best setups available chug a bit, I don’t know why anyone thought for a second this would be a fun experience on seven year old cut-rate hardware.

I mean, CDPR should not have been misleading, but obviously it was in their interest to be. All of this "wow, CDPR wasn’t totally honest and we are SHOCKED" seems a little silly.

I don’t know why anyone got this for a "last gen" consul. Even a few years ago we saw significant graphical differences between good (I don’t mean absolute top, I just mean good) PC hardware and consul performance.

When you say "we," I think you mean nerds like us who read up on the technical specs of hardware, and the hardware requirements for software. Millions and millions of people simply don’t do that — they see "runs on PS4" and so they buy it. So finding fault with these people for trusting the label is like finding fault with people who trust nutrition labels, and don’t read research papers on nutrition.

CDPR simply did false advertising, to make an extra buck (or 2, or million).

If CDPR manages to crunch hard enough (classic) then a patch before xmas day could salvage a lot of other refunds, i imagine a fair few million copies are under xmas trees untouched for now.

Dear Verge, could you get more of a breakdown on what the 10% bonus for staff looks like?
If 8 million covers dev costs, minus some other costs like marketing and distribution, it looks like 10% of 5+ million other copies to reward the dev team.

Thats really hard considering on GOG they get 100% of the profit, Epic 85% and Steam… w/e bracket they fall into. Was there a physical pc release? I didn’t check, i got it through GOG.

Then you have consoles. So you have the marketplaces fees, patch fees, etc. Then you have the physical edition, but oh wait, physical edition was selling below $60 at a number of retailers for months leading up to release. And then you have production costs and all the costs that come with physical retail.

That site that imports foreign games to the US was selling both physical and digital codes for $30 at one point before release.

Its all really hard to actually calculate unless they openly announce the numbers.

Oh i figured they just get in contact with some of the employees

If CDPR manages to crunch hard enough (classic) then a patch before xmas day could salvage a lot of other refunds

CDPR already announced their patch plans. The pre-christmas patch already came – it’s 1.05. The next patch will come in January.

Called it, although its not as much as i hoped.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/12/23/22198029/cyberpunk-2077-106-update-patch-corrupted-save-file-crashes

FYI its 7am in Australia on xmas morning now so just in time

If only the reviewers would have let the consumers know about these problems prior to the release…

If only CDPR allowed them do exactly that…

That was OkayDude’s point: CDPR intentionally deceived the consumer, by not letting reviewers play the game prior to release.

Is it? There’s nothing in his comment that implies that.

CDPR did not send out console versions for review and even blocked reviewers from using non-preapproved footage in their reviews.

So 13 million more reasons for the industry to keep releasing unfinished games.

Well, Analyst expectations were 20million games sold during launch, 32million in year 1…. so might reconsider releasing games like this

Google has an opportunity here. They need to get the attention of those who got refunds so they can sell them Cyberpunk on Stadia and get the free controller deal. Or give them special pricing if they bring their own controller. I’ve been playing Cyberpunk on Stadia and it runs great.

Google ended that deal 5 days earlier than they were supposed to, I had just started my stadia trial and was looking to buy the premier edition and somebody said buying cyberpunk gives it to you with the game. So I was going to buy it for 50 since they’d give me $10 off but saw they ended it on the 13th instead of the 18th.

It was a "while supplies last" deal. I lucked out and was able to use my $10 off discount.

Apparently even with Stadia it has the "save files over 8mb may corrupt" issue :/. I suppose because the saves are kept on the hosting computer?

Don’t get it twisted. The game is a awesome and a huge success. The internet just tends to get over run by a vocal minority if you haven’t noticed.

Can we just accept that people have very different experiences with the game? There is a large amount that loves the game, a large amount with massive issues, and also a third that thinks this game is just a kind of middling experience… (consider myself the third). And I think we can all agree that this game was massively overhyped by fans, media and CDPR, contributing to the disappointment now

Also analyst expectations for sales were much higher, so it’s not really a "huge success"

So just a "success" then?

vocal minority

Big lols.

Even if the game were running flawlessly, it looks pretty middling from what I’ve seen. Like Fallout but with nicer graphics. It seemed like it was going to be very systems heavy but it looks pretty shallow in the retail release. I’m sure that’ll change over time because that’s just how CDPR be so that’s the version I’ll eventually play at a fraction of the price.

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