After a week of refunds, apologies, and patches, CD Projekt Red announced yesterday that its open world scifi RPG Cyberpunk 2077 nevertheless sold over 13 million copies total since its December 10 release. This despite the game’s busted performance on last-gen consoles and some low-end PCs, as well as the reportedly overtime-fueled labor conditions that went into making it.
“[CDPR] hereby announces that, based on reports obtained from digital distribution platforms and data collected from physical distributors, it estimates that by 20 December inclusive gamers have purchased over 13 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077,” the company wrote in a statement to investors. “This figure represents the estimated volume of retail sales across all hardware platforms (factoring in returns submitted by retail clients in brick-and-mortar as well as digital storefronts), i.e. the “sell-through” figure, less all refund requests e-mailed directly to the Company by the publication date of this report in the framework of the ‘Help Me Refund’ campaign.”
Close readers will recognize some seeming caveats in this announcement, the biggest being that the 13 million number appears to be an estimate rather than based strictly on actual existing sales data. The statement also says it represents total sales minus all refunds requested, but it’s not clear if that reflects the bulk of all refunds or simply the ones retailers have had the time to report so far. CDPR did not immediately respond to a request for comment to clarify its remarks.
CDPR first apologized for the state of the game on December 14, suggesting anyone who was disappointed in how Cyberpunk 2077 played could get a refund. This proved difficult, however, since Sony and Microsoft’s digital storefronts don’t necessarily allow refunds on games that have already been played. By December 17, Sony had pulled the game from its PlayStation Store altogether, guaranteeing refunds across the board. This no-questions-asked refund option quickly expanded to Microsoft’s platform as well, followed by CDPR itself and even retailers like Best Buy. Earlier this week, Kotaku reported that even GameStop stores were being told to refund Cyberpunk 2077 customers, even if they’d already opened and played the game.
In that context, 13 million doesn’t sound bad at all for a game whose rollout The New York Times recently called “one of the most visible disasters in the history of video games.” Just prior to the game’s release, CDPR announced it had been pre-ordered over 8 million times, and on December 11 reported that pre-orders alone had already allowed it to breakeven on the game’s development and marketing costs. Five million more in sales since launch for a game whose litany of glitches have gone viral and whose console version currently has below a 60 on Metacritic is more than most games will ever sell. By comparison, it took Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order several months to reach 10 million copies sold.
Still, it’s apparently not as many sales as shareholders were hoping for. Bloomberg reports that CDPR’s stock fell 3.7% following the news, down a total of 42% from where it had peaked earlier in the month.