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CD Projekt Red made hundreds of millions on 'Cyberpunk 2077' despite the refunds

Mariella Moon
·Associate Editor
·2-min read

CD Projekt Red posted record-breaking revenue and sales numbers for the 2020 fiscal year, thanks to Cyberpunk 2077 — and despite the game's problematic release. The developer has announced (PDF) that it posted over 2.14 billion Polish Zloty (PLN) or around US$563 million in total sales revenue, which is four times higher than 2019's. That's mostly due to Cyberpunk 2077, which sold over 13.7 million copies by the end of 2020, making it the largest game in the company's history.

The retro-futuristic RPG was the developer's most highly anticipated game since Witcher 3. It launched to great reviews until players started receiving their copies, revealing the numerous bugs and game-breaking glitches plaguing the console versions of the game. Sony had to make the decision to pull the game from the PS store, where it remains unavailable for purchase, and to offer refunds to anybody who wanted one. Microsoft followed soon after, offering full refunds to Xbox players who bought a copy.

Those refunds barely made a dent on the developer's earnings, though. As Ars Technica notes, the "Other Provisions" section of the company's full financial report (PDF) reveals that it spent $10.65 million in refund made through digital and physical retailers in 2020, as well as $2.23 million in direct refunds made through its own "Help me Refund" campaign. If the company spent $60 per copy, then it processed 215,000 refunds in all, or about 1.6 percent of the total units sold. CDPR also expects an additional loss of $38.34 million for additional refunds and lost sales, including the impact of the game's continued absence from the PS Store, this year. 

In all, $51 million isn't such a large number compared to its total sales and even its $301 million net profit. However, the company's stocks dropped after the refund programs were announced, and they've yet to bounce back. While Cyberpunk 2077 was clearly CDPR's main moneymaker last year, it said The Witcher series also enjoyed strong sales. The Witcher 3 had the second best year in its history, with sales of over 30 million for 2020.