Ok, WTF is Cyberpunk 2077?

CD Projekt SA found a special place in the hearts of gaming enthusiasts. Unlike giant rivals Electronic Arts Inc., Activision Blizzard Inc. and Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.

Gaming publisher CD Projekt announced earlier this week that it had sold 13 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077 since its launch two weeks ago, in what looks to be a move to instill confidence in investors after a turbulent launch. Sadly, the shaky release of Cyberpunk 2077 might’ve showed it’s true colors, as the game was—and still rife with bugs, and was almost unplayable on prior generation Xbox and Playstation consoles, made by Microsoft [$MSFT] and Sony [$SNE], respectively.

The title unveiling was so poorly received by gamers that it called into question the company’s reputation as a ‘gamer-first business’, threatened a class-action lawsuit against the publisher, and forced CD Projekt’s hand in saying it would refund discouraged players. Both Microsoft and Sony also offered refunds to players.

In a rather verbose statement released December 14, CD Projekt said it was working to “fix the bugs, crashes, and overall experience.” Investors responded accordingly, and CD Projekt’s Poland-traded stock has retreated 26% since the game’s release. Unlike bigwig publishers such as Electronic Arts [$EA] or Activision Blizzard [$ATVI], CD Projekt doesn’t have a stable of big games it releases on a reliable cadence, and the stakes for Cyberpunk’s success remain high. Change of Plans; Roblox Won’t IPO This Year

The stock’s surge had been driven by the breathless anticipation for “Cyberpunk 2077,” an action role-playing game starring Keanu Reeves that had secured eight million pre-orders. Released last week, players assume the role of an urban mercenary whose abilities are augmented by cyberware implants.

Amid the controversy, Tuesday’s disclosure notches Cyberpunk in the company of the bestselling titles of 2020, potentially making it competitive with the Activision release of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and the latest Animal Crossing title. Make no mistake, this is quite the milestone for the company. Granted, CD Projekt had collected around 8 million in pre-ordered copies, which suggests the game has sold about five million units since its release.

The last big game CD Projekt rolled out, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, sold four million copies the first two weeks, but the franchise, including the first two games in the series, has gone on to sell more than 40 million copies. The Witcher, based on the book series by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski, has also been turned into a series for Netflix [$NFLX]. Gaming Companies to Watch in 2021

Yet even 13 million units sold is a disappointment for some analysts. Citi Research analyst Rafal Wiatr noted in a client missive that Cyberpunk sold below expectations, which the Polish press reported was roughly 16 million units. On Monday, BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson said Monday that rival Take-Two Interactive Software [$TTWO] will reap the rewards from the Cyberpunk launch mishap.

The extent of the problems prompted Sony to pull the game from its online store on Friday. CD Projekt shares fell as much as 22% on the news, extending the decline that investors have endured since Dec. 4. The company is now valued at 25 billion zlotys ($6.8 billion).

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