Despite its many troubles, including major technical issues (most recently, the discovery that letting your save file exceed 8MB in size can result in it becoming irretrievably corrupted) and an outright removal from the PlayStation Store, Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab) is a massive sales success: CD Projekt announced today that as of December 20 the game has sold more than 13 million copies across all platforms.
Notably, that 13 million figure accounts for refund requests, which CD Projekt, Sony, and Microsoft began offering shortly after the game went live.
"This figure represents the estimated volume of retail sales across all hardware platforms (factoring in returns submitted by retail clients in brick-and-mortar as well as digital storefronts), i.e. the 'sell-through' figure, less all refund requests e-mailed directly to the Company by the publication date of this report in the framework of the 'Help Me Refund' campaign," CD Projekt said in a regulatory announcement (opens in new tab).
Cyberpunk 2077 enjoyed a hugely successful and lucrative pre-release campaign that netted roughly eight million preorders, making it the biggest PC launch in history (opens in new tab) and enough to recoup all development and marketing costs on launch day. That means that roughly five million more copies of the game have sold after launch.
Unfortunately, and despite multiple delays and a long stretch of crunch that left many employees unhappy with studio management, the game was plagued with significant technical issues (opens in new tab) at release that led to an open-ended refund offer (opens in new tab) and, ultimately, the PlayStation Store delisting (opens in new tab). It was, to put it mildly, a bad week for CD Projekt (opens in new tab).
Given all that, this might not seem like the appropriate time for a triumphant sales announcement, but as industry analyst Daniel Ahmad said on Twitter, this statement isn't aimed at gamers, but at jittery investors.
The last sentence in the image above is the key one. Essentially the disclosure was made to reassure investors that the game still had a record breaking launch despite the controversy. 13m sell through in one week still makes this one of the largest premium game launches everDecember 22, 2020
CD Projekt declined to share further data on sell-through or refund request numbers, so it's possible that Cyberpunk 2077 was an even bigger sales success out of the gate but had its numbers pulled back by the post-launch fiasco—or that 13 million is close to the total sales figure and most owners have decided to ride it out and hope for the best. Either way, the bigger impact could be felt over the coming months: As Ahmad pointed out, the launch week is huge but the very high-profile backlash could have a powerfully negative impact over long-term sales.