The creator of “Cyberpunk 2077”, one of this year’s most anticipated video games, told players they could request a refund because the original version was buggy, a rare move for a major publisher and the final mark on a project ravaged by launch delays.
Warsaw-based CD Projekt SA said in a tweet Monday that the $ 60 game, which features Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves and was released last week, is not working properly on Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One. . The company apologized, saying it has addressed some issues with recent updates and plans more in the coming weeks.
“We would appreciate if you would give us a chance, but if you are not happy with the game on your console and don’t want to wait for updates, you can choose to refund your copy,” the company said.
Analysts had predicted that “Cyberpunk” would sell between 18 million and 25 million copies in its first month. The day it came out, CD Projekt said the game had eight million preorders, of which about 59%, or 4.7 million copies, were for PCs.
A spokeswoman for CD Projekt declined to comment further. CD Projekt shares have fallen about 25% since Wednesday’s close in Warsaw, losing more than $ 2 billion in market value.
“Cyberpunk” is the largest and most expensive project to date for the more than two decade old video game company. CD Projekt’s co-CEOs told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month that they had misjudged how long it would take to complete ‘Cyberpunk’ and that the coronavirus pandemic hampered the later stages of four years of development that followed. preparatory work that started around 2012.
Executives also said the company was overwhelmed by attempts to make “Cyberpunk” playable on nine platforms at launch. Previously, it developed games for three platforms simultaneously.
It’s uncommon for game publishers to recommend that players seek reimbursement for their releases with a large budget. Typically, companies will delay troubled games from making fixes before going on sale. One or two delays are relatively common, but no more. Still, in recent years, players have come to expect games to debut with some flaws and developers to fix these issues through post-release online updates.
“It’s a big failure,” said Jefferies analyst Ken Rumph of CD Projekt’s “Cyberpunk” release.
The game has received mixed reactions from professional reviewers and regular players, with some complaining aggressively on social media. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted a reply to CD Projekt’s tweet with a screenshot of a message disappointed with a PlayStation 4 copy of “Cyberpunk” by an unknown writer.
“I took a week off from work to play this game and I quickly realized that this is not the game I’ve been thinking about every day for eight years,” the message said.
Several other prominent developers have been delaying games this year, citing the challenges of working from home due to the health crisis as a key factor. For example, Microsoft delayed the release of a new installment of its shooter franchise Halo in August until next year.
It is important that “Cyberpunk” becomes a hit for CD Projekt. The company only has one other major franchise, The Witcher, and the last major release is now five years old.
The snafu could give CD Projekt a headache as it looks to develop other games later, including the online multiplayer version of “Cyberpunk” it has promised, Bernstein analyst Matti Littunen said.
“Gamers have long memories,” he said.
Write to Sarah E. Needleman at [email protected]