CD Projekt tests gamers’ patience with third ‘Cyberpunk’ delay

The new date for launch of Cyberpunk, a role playing game set in a dystopian urban environment, is scheduled weeks after planned launch of Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 consoles. — CD Projekt Red

Poland’s biggest computer game maker has delayed the launch of its Cyberpunk 2077 title for a third time, potentially diluting its share of the key holiday-season market for gamers.

CD Projekt SA set a new release date on Dec 10. It won’t keep its earlier scheduled premiere on Nov 19 as it seeks to ensure the compatibility of its much-awaited product for both current and next-generation consoles, the studio said in regulatory filing on Tuesday.

The management said it miscalculated the time needed to complete the game since the title passed certification earlier this month.

“First and foremost, please accept our humble apologies,” co-chief executive officer and co-founder Marcin Iwinski and CD Projekt RED studio’s head Adam Badowski said on Twitter. “We feel we have an amazing game on our hands and we are willing to make every decision, ever the hardest ones, if it ultimately leads to you getting a video game you’ll fall in love with.”

CD Projekt’s shares have risen 30% this year, adding to a 92% gain in 2019 amid expectations that Cyberpunk 2077 will become a highly-profitable franchise. The Polish studio won global acclaim for its medieval role playing game Witcher.

The new date for launch of Cyberpunk, a game set in a dystopian urban environment, is scheduled weeks after planned launch of Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 consoles. It will fall behind a number of other gaming premieres planned in November as developers bet that gamers’ propensity to spend before the holiday season will increase together with the first deliveries of new gaming equipment.

While the complex game works well on new machines and personal computers, the studio is still optimising the experience on older versions of hardware, chief executive officer Adam Kicinski told a conference call.

Kicinski is “firm” that the new premiere date won’t be changed again as it gained “lots of confidence” about the game’s quality from tests. The company doesn’t expect “massive” cancellations of pre-orders due to rescheduling.

“CD Projekt will suffer from some disappointment among fans at another delay, but time to optimise does tend to be forgiven by fans and markets,” Jefferies Group LLC’s analyst Ken Rumph said. He expects that while some cash from sales will be deferred to 2021, the company shouldn’t ultimately see lower lifetime revenues.

Rumph, Activision Blizzard Inc and Ubisoft SA are likely to be beneficiaries by gaining more “selling space” for their releases, which are now scheduled before Cyberpunk’s. – Bloomberg

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