Cyberpunk 2077 Sales Figures Help Explain CDPR’s Falling Stock

Developer CDPR's falling stock and plummeting profits make it hard to hide the realities of Cyberpunk 2077's sales.

Cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has released more information about their Q1 earnings, and the financial report finally seems to shed a little light on how bad Cyberpunk 2077‘s sales have been since launch and how those sales are negatively impacting the company’s stock.

While CDPR enjoyed a 2% increase in product sales during Q1 2021, the company has watched its net profits plummet 64.7% during that time from the previous year. The company reportedly expected a net profit of 80 million zlotys during that quarter and instead only recorded a net profit of 32.5 million zlotys.

Surprisingly, the studio made it clear that Cyberpunk 2077 was part of the problem, though they went about confirming that information in a strange way. While Cyberpunk 2077 reportedly accounted for 60% of CDPR’s first-quarter product sales, a CDPR representative stated that “lower than usual net profitability is mainly due to continuing depreciation of Cyberpunk 2077 development expenditures.” In other words, CD Project Red continues to spend money fixing Cyberpunk 2077 and promoting the game but apparently hasn’t been able to cover those expenses with Cyberpunk 2077 sales alone. What’s worse is that they used the phrase “continuing depreciation,” which suggests that they anticipate this will be an ongoing issue.

So far as that goes, CD Projekt Red also once again noted that Cyberpunk 2077‘s removal from the PlayStation Store has obviously negatively impacted the game’s overall sales. One CDPR executive even had this to say:

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

While CDPR is talking around Cyberpunk 2077‘s sales, they’re stopping short of revealing any specific updated sales figures. Granted, some companies just don’t talk about raw sales numbers for their games during these reports and updates, but the odd thing here is that this is this studio was quick to brag that Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 13 million copies in 2020. Since then, though, they’ve been quiet about the details of the game’s sales performance.

CDPR may not be talking about official sales numbers, but analysts have been working hard to uncover how many copies of Cyberpunk 2077 have been sold so far in 2021, and their initial estimates are shocking. Again, these are only estimates, but some analysts believe that Cyberpunk 2077 may have sold less than 1,000,000 copies in 2021 so far (around 800,000 copies is the number I’ve heard floating around). That would seemingly mean that Cyberpunk 2077 is still hovering around 14-15 million units sold, which is impressive enough in its own right, but that number loses some luster when you consider that some firms believed Cyberpunk 2077 was expected to sell as many as 27 million units in its first year.

For the moment, though, let’s put aside predictions. After all, we really don’t need them to confirm that Cyberpunk 2077 has been something of a disappointment for CD Project Red so far and is seemingly a big part of the reason why the company’s stock has gone from trading at $31 a share in December 2020 to $10 a share at the time of this writing.

CD Projekt Red admits that Cyberpunk 2077‘s ongoing costs are already hurting their bottom line, which is again not the kind of statement you’d likely hear a company make if that game was living up to internal expectations (must less external ones). Cyberpunk 2077 may have recouped its initial development costs upon its release, but it’s starting to sound like the game may be back (or on its way back) to technically losing money. In other words, the game’s production costs continue to rise just as its recent sales don’t seem to entirely “justify” recent costs.

That’s what’s so interesting about this whole thing. See, a game like No Man’s Sky also sold well before word of mouth hurt its sales and reputation, but the plan was to grow that game with new content and regular updates designed to please existing fans and attract new ones. Cyberpunk 2077‘s bugs may be fixed at some point, but the game it is now from a content perspective is roughly the game it’s going to be until CDPR is able to release DLC or multiplayer. As you can tell by CDPR’s (frustratingly vague) updated roadmap, that kind of content is at least a year away from being released if it’s released at all:

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Cyberpunk 2077 2021 roadmap

More importantly, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Cyberpunk 2077 hasn’t just hurt CDPR’s stock price and bottom line but its reputation as well. The company notes that strong word of mouth about The Witcher franchise (which includes the success of the Netflix series), has kept sales of The Witcher 3 relatively strong, but even those sales are finally starting to waver. Cyberpunk 2077 was expected to start carrying more of the weight, but these early financial reports suggest that Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t coming close to making up for that dip.

That’s put CDPR in a strange position where they must not only find a way to repair Cyberpunk 2077′s reputation for the simple fact that they still need to bolster the game’s sales (and their profits/stock prices) but because Cyberpunk 2077 is quickly becoming the game the face of the company in just about the worst ways possible.

Right now, CDPR’s best hope is that they’re able to get Cyberpunk 2077 back on the PlayStation Store in the near future and that its reappearance on that platform coincides with a significant number of bug fixes. That may be enough to get people talking about (and, of course, buying and playing) Cyberpunk 2077 again, but whether or not there is a large group of gamers who have resisted buying the game so far but will do so when it reaches a magical state of “fixed” remains to be seen.