Cyberpunk 2077 is still planned for a September 2020 release and CD Projekt RED is confident the game won't be delayed.
CDPR delivered some good news in its latest 2019 earnings report: Net earnings are up 44%, profits are up 60%, and development on Cyberpunk 2077 is going well even as devs work from home. The big worry is that COVID-19 could delay Cyberpunk 2077 and other major games because of massive interruptions to daily work schedules. But CDPR strongly indicates their ambitious sci-fi FPS-RPG mash-up will hit its intended 2020 launch.
"We're giving it our all, and thanks to the tools at our disposal we have been able to maintain full continuity of our efforts," CD Projekt RED Chief Financial Officer Piotr Nielubowicz said in a recent investor's presentation.
Nielubowicz continues by hinting CDPR crunched pretty hard in 2019 to finalize Cyberpunk 2077.
"Our goal is clear: In September, we intend to deliver to gamers around the world our greatest production yet, Cyberpunk 2077. The past year was a very intensive period for us."
However, the company's earnings report does warn investors that certain disruptions are possible. CDPR is careful to say that work from contractors and subcontractors could be interrupted or put on hold as some teams aren't equipped to work from home. This could mean more work for CDPR's core development team.
Key short-term risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
In the short run the most important risks and impediments affecting the Group's activities relate to cooperation with subcontractors and suppliers, particularly those, whose work cannot be carried out in the Home Office model. The Group continuously monitors the situation and implements mitigation strategies to adapt to the emerging circumstances on an ongoing basis.
The coronavirus pandemic introduces the risk that certain members of the team may become unable to perform their assigned duties. Thanks to rapid reorientation towards the Home Office model the Group successfully avoided the emergence of an infection cluster within its team. Remote work cannot prevent individual team members from becoming infected, but it significantly reduces this risk, while also eliminating the risk of horizontal spread within the team.
Games like Cyberpunk 2077 are typically made by hundreds of people, many of which aren't actually CD Projekt RED employees, but instead outside independent contractors hired to help fill specific roles. This is how the games industry operates, and a lot of the contractors include QA testers.
CD Projekt RED is eager to get the game shipped as fast as possible. But critical shipment and supply lines are being disrupted due to coronavirus risks and could throw a monkey wrench in CDPR's plans.
That still may not force a delay. Unlike Sony with The Last of Us Part II, CD Projekt RED may be more flexible and possibly won't delay Cyberpunk 2077 even if physical shipments are disrupted. The company notes that most of its game sales are from digital, with 74% of total game purchases in 2019 being on digital channels.
Digital distribution channels account for the vast majority of sales, both for the Company and for the Group as a whole. According to information available as of the publication date of this report, these channels are largely impervious to the current circumstances.
The Company has not yet received detailed information from distributors of physical editions of its games, but it can be surmised that restrictions in the free movement of people and the operation of retail stores will negatively affect sales of such products. Being forced to spend more time at home may also result in a change in purchasing habits, resulting in further growth of the popularity of digital videogame distribution platforms.
Cyberpunk 2077 is due out on September 17, 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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