Cyberpunk patch fuels bets worst is behind CD Projekt shares

CD Projekt said it would release a new update toward the end of January and then a second patch ‘in the weeks after’. It promised to delay future content for Cyberpunk 2077 as it focuses on fixing bugs. — AFP

Polish gaming studio CD Projekt SA jumped after reassuring investors that a patch for its bug-ridden Cyberpunk 2077 would hit the market this month.

In a video and blog post late on Wednesday, the publisher said it would release a new update toward the end of January and then a second patch “in the weeks after”. It promised to delay future content for Cyberpunk 2077 as it focuses on fixing bugs.

CD Projekt advanced as much as 11% on Thursday, the most since March, and closed 6% higher as short positions in the stock narrowed. Still, the company has lost almost 40% of its value since December’s peak and Markit data shows that shorts had surged to a record 10% of outstanding shares this month.

“Shorting CD Projekt finally turned more difficult as borrowing the stock became costly, and short covering was expected to provide the first signal for the shares to rebound after the slump,” Pawel Sugalski, a fund manager at Rockbridge TFI SA, said by email.

He sees investors starting to buy the stock again on hopes that Cyberpunk will return to Sony’s PlayStation store soon after release of its next patch.

Sony spotlight

Expected to be one of last year’s biggest games, Cyberpunk prompted widespread anger following its Dec 10 release as fans ran into performance issues, especially on game consoles. The game played so poorly that Sony Corp removed it for purchase from the PlayStation.

In the blog post, CD Projekt said it was “working with Sony to bring Cyberpunk back to PlayStation Store as soon as possible”.

“Our priority is working on the most important fixes and updates,” the company said late on Wednesday, adding that its future downloadable content (DLC) would come later than expected. “We will be releasing free DLC afterwards – we’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.”

The planned update for the new PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Series X will also be delayed until later this year, the company said, pinning the blame for the game’s woes on older console models on an out-of-date system for streaming content.

“Since the city is so packed and the disk bandwidth of old-gen consoles is what it is, this is something that constantly challenged us,” the company wrote.

CD Projekt said it would aim to create future patches “without any obligatory overtime”. Last year, Bloomberg reported that the company had reneged on previous promises to avoid mandatory overtime, or what the video game industry calls crunch.

“Avoiding crunch on all of our future projects is one of our top priorities,” the company said. – Bloomberg

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