Cyberpunk 2077 has sold more than 13 million copies since its launch two weeks ago, according to developer parent company CD Projekt Red.
The selling milestone, disclosed in the investor’s note from CD Projekt S.A. on Tuesday, is a great achievement considering it led to multiple digital and physical refunds due to messy game launches. The metric calculates sales between the game’s release on December 10 and December 20, the note said. That’s about half of the 12-month sales analyst forecast for games immediately after launch but before digital stores say they will start accepting refunds, Bloomberg reports.
Selling 13 million copies made Cyberpunk 2077 one of the best-selling games of the year, although it still lags far behind the 50 best-selling games of all time and CD Projekt Red’s last big hit, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which has sold more than 28 million copies in all platform. However, few games have ever sold more than 10 million copies, and to get into the all-time top 50 you, only need to sell over 19 million copies (to beat the classic NES Super Mario Bros 3).
Cyberpunk 2077 sales could likely jump even higher after the studio fixed more bugs and the game re-released on the PlayStation Store. Sony removed the game last week and started processing digital refunds for disgruntled buyers.
The financial success of the role-playing game stands in stark contrast to its public perception of it as a multifaceted failure, a fact that only increases criticism of CD Projekt Red and also increases the likelihood of a class-action lawsuit. That something can be so successful while also being considered a highly compromised product is also a stunning indictment of the current video game industry and its marketing and pre-order models.
Because the studio promised that the game would do well on current-generation consoles, it was able to collect over 8 million pre-orders for Cyberpunk 2077, effectively covering the cost of a game development cycle that is nearly a decade in sales one day. Meanwhile, the studio is making efforts to hide game performance on the system from previous media outlets, according to a report from The New York Times.
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Unlike other forms of media, which easy assessed in standardized formats, video games require extensive hands-on experience on multiple platforms for the overall quality of the product to be clear. Without prior knowledge, millions of people bought Cyberpunk 2077, only to discover the flaws later after players started posting clips online and assessing various bugs and game performance issues on message boards.
Therefore, the refund campaign, which became a whirl of controversy in its own right after CD Projekt Red revealed that it had not finalized official refund agreements with its retail partners before advising customers to ask for their money back.
But if there’s a silver lining here, it’s a project as big and ambitious and, in the end, overexcited as Cyberpunk 2077 is now a teachable moment for customers and developers about treating big game releases with more skepticism and needing more transparency around products quality before placed the game in the catalog.