Cyberpunk 2077 - CDProjekt's New Joint

If you thought Witcher 3 was a good open world game, Cyberpunk delivers about the same. But for whatever reason, the expectation was that this would be using the GTA model of open worldiness instead.

But if you’re intending to play on the PS, definitely wait until they release the proper PS5 version, rather than what’s effectively just backwards compatibility.

I could live with that if everything was done well. TBH, Witcher 3 was not really a full open world game in the same sense as, say, RDR2 or Skyrim. For example, in RDR2 I roamed the countryside for hundreds of hours just exploring, discovering all kinds of amazing things, hunting, fishing, deciding whether to free people being transported in a cell on a wagon, finding a pervert and tying him up and laying him on the train track, etc. Witcher 3 was much more about all of the quests and sidequests and the story line without a lot beyond that.

Nice one, Onion! The Cyberpunk version of this!

-Tom

Meanwhile in the world of non-made-up stuff, they apparently only refunded 30,000 copies.

Thats performs maths $1.8 million dollars refunded!

I expect that’s a testament to the goodwill and reputation they garnered for supporting their previous games. There’s no point in refunding if the expectation is they’ll continue to improve the game for a long period.

Seems tiny compared to the online complaining.

Wait, are you saying that online communities blow problems way out of proportion and completely do not represent the real world??

Let’s not pretend that the refund scheme was all that great because it wasn’t. I didn’t refund it because I couldn’t.

Well, there is: there’s no guarantee that will happen in a timely manner and consequently you’d come out on top, financially, if you refunded then rebought it when (if) it is finally fixed.

Regardless of any of that, the chances of me ever buying one of their products at launch, never mind pre-ordering, are slim to none. I doubt I’m alone in that. That will have lasting financial consequences for them, though it would be difficult to put an actual price tag on it given the abstract nature of the loss.

Note that these are refunds handled directly by CDPR, not the whole number of refunds processed through the different digital and physical stores. 30.000 direct refunds is a lot, given that they normally tend to 0.

I wonder how many of those 30K people got their money back and got to keep the game. I’d guess everyone who bought it in retail.

How come?

Online complaining tends to think it’s way bigger and more important than it actually is.

Let’s not get all celebratory just yet. We’re not getting the full story.

As for the monetary impact, the “Help Me Refund” program CD Projekt set up to handle requests from customers dissatisfied with Cyberpunk 2077 only cost the company approximately $2.17 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the over $560 million CD Projekt took in as 2020 revenue. Over 95% of these refunds have already been processed.

It should be noted that these refund numbers don’t appear to take into account Cyberpunk 2077 refunds processed by Sony, Microsoft, or other outlets.

This announcement only covered direct refund payouts from CDPR through the [email protected] support initiative, which was where players were directed to go if their retailer/seller refused to refund the game and was only valid to December 21st. Who knows how many copies were refunded really.

You can also weigh the impact of the refund program against 13.7 million total unit sales of Cyberpunk 2077 before the end of December. Assuming 2020’s approximately $12.9 million in refunds averaged out to full $60 purchases, that means CDPR refunded just under 215,000 copies, or about 1.6 percent of all Cyberpunk units sold last year.

[ Update: In an earnings call following the financial statement’s release, CDPR confirmed that roughly 30,000 copies of Cyberpunk 2077 were refunded directly through the company’s “Help Me Refund” program. That would imply a total of about 180,000 total refunds in 2020, assuming the same average “cost per refund” rate across various digital and retail storefronts.]

Two things to note in that reporting.

1- The provisions for refunds likely don’t cover all the refunds. Digital storefronts will deduct the refunds before executing payments to the company, and those are normally not added to accounting since the money never enters the company, so I think the provisions will only cover a small percentage of digital storefronts returns (the delay from purchase to payout in digital storefronts is measured in months, while most digital returns do not take as long to be executed). It will cover all physical returns, which I expect is the majority of that number.
2- Even then, €51M over a $300M net profit means profit went down from 350M (where it would have been without refunds) to 300M, so a loss of 14.3% over expected profits, which is huge. I don’t get the “barely dented” headline.

Not sure about Point 1 - I’d expect the auditors to insist that the provision is made in line with IAS 37, which requires a provision is recognised where:

  • a present obligation (legal or constructive) has arisen as a result of a past event (the obligating event),
  • payment is probable (‘more likely than not’), and
  • the amount can be estimated reliably.

I think CD Project Red would have either had to:

a) never recognise the revenue in the first place (as it all came before 31/12) or
b) recognise it and the total estimate of refunds that would have been expected as at 31/12.

I’m supposed to be working, so don’t have time to do the necessary digging in the financial statements…

Yeah, I’m not sure either.

The adjustments of reports from Q4 in Q1 from digital distribution platforms will only include returns of sales in Q4 not executed until Q1. The typical return window for a digital purchase is 15 days. So the adjustments would include returns on the significant Christmas sales (if the sale reports were in for the closing of Q4) but certainly it looks to me most returns in Q4 would already be baked in those Q4 reports.

But I’m not an accountant and I’m quite out of my water here. I could be very wrong.

It’s not completely clear (I’m accountant adjacent more than an accountant per se); but I think the 40m is all refunds actually processed in Q1, but recognised at balance sheet date, and the remainder is the best estimate of what else they’ll have to pay.

Apropos nothing…

The art In Cyberpunk is incredible

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 11, 2021