Pokemon-style Witcher mobile game sends CD Projekt to record

The game will be developed by Spokko, a studio acquired by CD Projekt in 2018. It will be a first-person combat game with beasts generated on view from players’ real locations. — CD Projekt Red

Polish gaming studio CD Projekt SA soared to a record on plans to release a Pokemon-style augmented-reality game for mobile phones based on the Witcher medieval fantasy series.

Shares in Europe’s largest gaming studio jumped 7.1% on Aug 26 following the announcement, giving it a market value of 42bil zloty (RM46.85bil). The company didn’t indicate a launch date for the free-to-play game, saying only that it was “coming soon”.

CD Projekt, the biggest company on the Warsaw stock exchange, has had success in its computer and console productions based on the Witcher fantasy stories about a medieval monster hunter. It gained a sales boost around the turn of the year following a Netflix series of the same name.

The game will be developed by Spokko, a studio acquired by CD Projekt in 2018. It will be a first-person combat game with beasts generated on view from players’ real locations.

“You can use time of day and real-life weather conditions to your advantage, but most importantly, always come to the fight prepared,” CD Projekt said. To defeat “tougher enemies you can brew powerful potions and oils, craft bombs and monster bait as well as upgrade your character’s skills and equipment”.

Micro-payments from the game should generate a new stream of revenues for the company that had last big release in 2015 and is now preparing the launch of its Cyberpunk 2077 game in mid-November.

Still, it’s difficult to estimate the positive impact as apart from Pokemon, which grossed US$90bil (RM375.16bil) from games, movies and merchandise, other augmented-reality franchises – such as one based on the Harry Potter books – often receive a modest reception.

Analysts’ comments:

  • Berenberg’s Robert Berg: The game will surely catch a lot of industry attention, and with CD Projekt behind the project it “no doubt” be of high quality.
    • Sees free-to-play games have very low success rates so it’s hard to be “too excited yet”
  • Jefferies’ Ken Rumph: The studio came out with good idea to exploit the Witcher universe with augmented-reality technology in the pause before new major release from that universe.
    • It’s impossible to predict how successful it may be, as such releases have mixed reception that largely depend on scale of the advertisement campaign; furthermore the Spokko team is relatively small
    • “The news is good but we don’t know how much”
  • Bernstein’s Matii Littunen: The new game is “an incremental positive for sure” as investors hadn’t modelled in anything from Spokko until now.
    • Recommends being cautious with the Pokemon comparisons as other franchises like Harry Potter have had much more modest results in the augmented reality genre
  • Ipopema’s Michal Wojciechowski: Mobile phone and augmented reality technology may become a significant niche for CD Projekt.
    • Sees high chances for success even as there are many example of modest impact of other games. – Bloomberg
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