Cyberpunk 2077 refunds hardly counteracted a very successful year for developer CD Projekt Red, despite the game's historically awful launch.
In case you haven't been around much lately, Cyberpunk 2077's long-awaited release last December didn't go so well. CD Projekt's baby saw generally favorable reviews from critics, but game-breaking performance issues on console caused public opinion to sour rapidly.
As the storm of backlash continued to swell, the studio began offering refunds to unsatisfied customers, and in a devastating move, Sony pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store. Essentially, if you were unhappy with Cyberpunk 2077, it wasn't hard to get a refund at all. Despite this, refunds and projected refunds roughly amounted to just 1.6 percent of all Cyberpunk 2077 copies sold in 2020.
As spotted by Ars Technica (opens in new tab), CD Projekt released its 2020 financial statement (opens in new tab) today, and it details about $51.2 million that the studio "has recognized [as] provisions for returns and expected adjustments of licensing reports related to sales of Cyberpunk 2077 in its release window, in Q4 2020."
Ars Technica, with some help from F-Squared's Mike Futter, translated the report's gibberish to mean that CD Projekt expects to lose over $50 million through currently processed refunds, future refunds, and lost sales (partially due to the PlayStation Store dilemma) through 2021 due to Cyberpunk 2077's fumbled launch.
That sounds like a lot, but in context it's pennies. The company made about $563 million in sales revenue and $301 million in net profit in 2020, no doubt largely from Cyberpunk sales. Suddenly the losses from Cyberpunk 2077 refunds don't sound like much, especially when you consider that $50 million includes projected refunds through 2021 and doesn't account for projected sales.
Of course, none of this is a testament to the quality of the product, meaning Cyberpunk 2077. As recently as last week, CD Projekt released another sweeping update meant to improve stability and fix bugs, but a quick scan through the game's subreddit (opens in new tab) suggests there's still a lot of work to be done.
For more, here's a great read from Edge on what we can learn from Cyberpunk 2077's disastrous launch.