After eight years of development, Cyberpunk 2077 finally went out the door yesterday, December 10. It wasn't in tip-top technical shape at launch—December 10, 2021 might've been a better idea—but even so, it's a money-maker: CD Projekt said today that preorders alone were enough to earn back its development and marketing costs.
The exact quote comes from "current report no. 65/2020," and is about as corpo-sounding as you'd expect from a document with that title:
The Management Board of CD PROJEKT S.A. with a registered office in Warsaw (hereinafter referred to as “the Company”) hereby announces that the estimated licensing royalties receivable by the Company in association with pre-order sales of Cyberpunk 2077 across all of its digital distribution channels have exceeded the sum of the following:
- total development expenditures related to the game, and
- the game’s marketing and promotional costs borne by the Company – either already incurred or anticipated for the remainder of 2020.
It's not surprising that Cyberpunk 2077 is a big sales success. CD Projekt said earlier this month that Cyberpunk 2077 preorders were significantly higher than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and yesterday nailed that down to roughly eight million preorders, making it the biggest PC launch in history. It also drew in more than one million concurrent players on Steam when it launched, setting a new record for a singleplayer game.
The unanswered question is, how much did Cyberpunk 2077 actually cost to make and market? CD Projekt hasn't publicly announced figures, but its Q3 2020 earnings presentation cited non-GOG "development expenditures" from the start of 2018 of about $111 million. The studio also said through its investor relations Twitter account that revenues from Steam alone surpassed $50 million more than two weeks prior to release.
Cyberpunk 2077 already exceeded $50 million in revenues on the Steam platform over 2 weeks ago 👌 pic.twitter.com/JkDDMJdp83December 10, 2020
Add on remaining storefronts and platforms, and the presumed surge in preorders in the weeks leading up to release, and you can see how the game could blow past its costs in a single day. I've reached out to CD Projekt to inquire about more specific numbers—I don't expect it to share, but I'll update if it does.