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Business Game Dev The real cost of Cyberpunk 2077 refunds is $51 million, not $2.2 million - Refunded around 30,000 copies

IbizaPocholo

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In the conference call, CD Projekt touched on refunds for Cyberpunk 2077. The developer/publisher specifically discussed the Help Me Refund campaign, saying that some 30,000 refund requests were submitted through it. This ended up costing the company $2.23 million all told.

Help Me Refund was a campaign designed to offer disgruntled players, who could not get a refund directly from retailers/digital stores, full compensation. It was a limited-time programme CD Projekt came up with in the wake of widespread mistrust, seemingly as a way to salvage some of its reputation.

But Help Me Refund is only a small part of the cost of refunds. The company also revealed in the same report that $51.2 million (including Help Me Refund) was the real cost of refunds in 2020. CD Projekt said those expenses are, “provisions for returns and expected adjustments of licensing reports related to sales of Cyberpunk 2077 in its release window, in Q4 2020.”

As pointed out by Ars Technica and analyst Mike Futter, the figure covers all Cyberpunk 2077 refunds, including those made at retail and digitally. It also includes projected losses from refunds in the first quarter of 2021, as well as those made very late last year they weren’t included in the report.

The brutally opaque corporate speak is likely intentional, as is the location of this particular page in the greater report. Nevertheless, $51 million is a small number compared to CD Projekt’s revenue and profits for 2020, but it’s significantly more than you would have been lead to believe going off CD Projekt’s initial statement, which as noted, only covers Help Me Refund.
 

ZehDon

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Is anyone able to put this into context of other games?

I presume all AAA titles have refunds - is Cyberpunk 2077's more than anyone else? Because, raw numbers, it feels like this is a good amount more than one might expect the average AAA title to have.
 

Raphael

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Is anyone able to put this into context of other games?

I presume all AAA titles have refunds - is Cyberpunk 2077's more than anyone else? Because, raw numbers, it feels like this is a good amount more than one might expect the average AAA title to have.
Given how flexible they were with it i would assume it's among the highest aaa refunds, given a lot of people were abusing it.
 

NahaNago

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That is a lot more money than I was expecting. I was expecting less than 10,000 copies to be refunded.
 

eyesabitdull

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And?
They already made approximately $540 million from the game ($60 minus platform holder fees times 13.6 million copies sold).
And there's your updated news on the matter.

Do you react the same every time a news story comes up again on the headlines with an update to the developing story?

I think these newly created threads can be super pointless if it's just an update to an already reported news though, so don't get me wrong.
 

Bernd Lauert

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Is anyone able to put this into context of other games?

I presume all AAA titles have refunds - is Cyberpunk 2077's more than anyone else? Because, raw numbers, it feels like this is a good amount more than one might expect the average AAA title to have.
Game refunds usually aren't a thing. Steam is an exception with a very liberal refund policy. There you have something like a 5% refund rate on average (numbers vary wildly depending on the game). Cyberpunk seems to be at 7% or so. Fairly high, but not absolutely terrible.
 
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xrnzaaas

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What I find interesting about this situation is that the game still isn't back in the PlayStation Store. It's not like CDPR are going to start offering Cyberpunk with GPU expansions. It won't get any signifcant upgrades to the old-gen performance anymore unless CDPR decides on another big downgrade (which would be a bad idea).
 

Flabagast

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Game refunds usually aren't a thing. Steam is an exception with a very liberal refund policy. There you have something like a 5% refund rate on average (numbers vary wildly depending on the game). Cyberpunk seems to be at 7% or so. Fairly high, but not absolutely terrible.
Yes but on console it sure is the game that must have had the most refunds on the last gen, maybe 10% to 15% of copies sold (& possibly even more). But once again, they refunded everyone that demanded it no questions asked, even if you had finished it 3 times already.
 

Bernd Lauert

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Yes but on console it sure is the game that must have had the most refunds on the last gen, maybe 10% to 15% of copies sold (& possibly even more). But once again, they refunded everyone that demanded it no questions asked, even if you had finished it 3 times already.
Yeah, if we only take last gen into account, the refund rate is around 15%, which is obviously very high. But as you said, they also had an incredibly generous refund policy and the game was complete trash on last gen consoles.
 

Denton

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Except it's not the "real cost" - it is an estimate, money they put aside for this purpose, without knowing what the real cost will be yet.
 
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reksveks

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About 7% right and given its roughly 45% on console, that makes it 15% of console sales?

That's a massive oversimplification but it's a decent chunk of console sales.
 
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harmny

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well of course. 30k was the number from cdpr's refund campaign. the people that actually reached out to them and said hey give me my money back.

the average game (on steam at least) has a refund rate of about 5-10 percent and cyberpunk is no different. it was probably refunded a little bit more than your average game but that's about it and not at all the end of the world as people were thinking.

also those 50 million are not "the real cost of refunds". it includes warehouse stock, cancelled orders from distributors, and projected future returns. it's not a number of customer returns. at the end of the day it's a projected number and not THE number of actual refunds.

pretty normal numbers if you ask me.
 
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kittoo

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Have to give it to CDPR that they did refunds no questions asked. Thats sign of a good company. People even refunded after completing the game (which I personally feel is plain wrong). Not many (any?) companies do this.
Yes they fucked up the launch and over-promised, but they also allowed absolutely everyone to get their money back. And I am sure they will keep patching it till its a great game. There are already flashes of brilliance and vision in the game. I trust CDPR still.
 

Panajev2001a

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Have to give it to CDPR that they did refunds no questions asked. Thats sign of a good company. People even refunded after completing the game (which I personally feel is plain wrong). Not many (any?) companies do this.
Yes they fucked up the launch and over-promised, but they also allowed absolutely everyone to get their money back. And I am sure they will keep patching it till its a great game. There are already flashes of brilliance and vision in the game. I trust CDPR still.
They did not just fuck up… the intentionally hid problems they were aware of and made sure game reviewers would not show the state of what people were preordering (see state of things on PS4, Xbox One S, etc…).

This is why they do not get the “oh such a good company offering refunds”.
 
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harmny

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They did not just fuck up… the intentionally hid problems they were aware of and made sure game reviewers would not show the state of what people were preordering (see state of things on PS4, Xbox One S, etc…).

This is why they do not get the “oh such a good company offering refunds”.

so the reward they get for offering refunds no questions asked even to people that already beat the game is "i don't care you are a shit company anyway"

and the reward you get for not offering refunds at all, promising to fix the game and then canceling that fix after 2 years of frozen development like EA and Bioware did with anthem is "you are shit company but i'm hyped for mass effect legendary edition anyway"

sounds to me like treating gamers like shit or giving them their money back is the same thing so why bother?

as i said Marcin. don't fix the game haters online don't matter. everyone online seems to hate activision bobby kotick and call of duty and yet it sells 20 million copies every year. Same for EA and FIFA. Same for Fortnite and Epic. who's buying them then?
 
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Miles708

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so the reward they get for offering refunds no questions asked even to people that already beat the game is "i don't care you are a shit company anyway"

and the reward you get for not offering refunds at all, promising to fix the game and then canceling that fix after 2 years of frozen development like EA and Bioware did with anthem is "you are shit company but i'm hyped for mass effect legendary edition anyway"

sounds to me like treating gamers like shit or giving them their money back is the same thing so why bother?

as i said Marcin. don't fix the game haters online don't matter. everyone online seems to hate activision bobby kotick and call of duty and yet it sells 20 million copies every year. Same for EA and FIFA. Same for Fortnite and Epic. who's buying them then?
CDPR used "good faith" as an extremely effective marketing strategy over the last few years. Turns out, it's difficult to believe to your own good faith, when you do everything in your power to cover your actions and mislead users, up until the very day of the release.

Hey, they tried, and it backfired.
Now, and for the next years, they'll be in damage control. They've earned it.

Good on them to issue refunds and I'm sure they will act again in a more good faith, NOW.

Lastly, usually EA, Activision etc. are usually smart enough to not release games broken on such a fundamental level that they crash at every session. You can't even even reach the "game design" part with such glaring omissions.
 
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I was one of the people who asked for a refund.

bought the game again though. original purchase was £50. second was £20 and I won that £20 in a bet so I only really paid £2 for the game!

I’ll be happy to give them money for expansions if I feel they are worth it. also hoping the free dlc adds some decent content and features.

Performance wise the game ran great for me on PC. Had everything up and even RTX on! Ran quite well and no crashes. I was just pissed off at how unfinished the game felt and I had been so excited for it as well so was disappointed. I played about 15 hours and they still gave me a refund.

I’m itching to go back to the game but honestly I’m in no rush. I still have a few games to play and I’m willing to wait and let CDPR try turn things around. If they do then I’ll double dip and buy the game full price on Steam (have it on GOG) just to throw them some money. Or maybe I’ll buy it for console if I ever get one.
 
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Flabagast

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well of course. 30k was the number from cdpr's refund campaign. the people that actually reached out to them and said hey give me my money back.

the average game (on steam at least) has a refund rate of about 5-10 percent and cyberpunk is no different. it was probably refunded a little bit more than your average game but that's about it and not at all the end of the world as people were thinking.

also those 50 million are not "the real cost of refunds". it includes warehouse stock, cancelled orders from distributors, and projected future returns. it's not a number of customer returns. at the end of the day it's a projected number and not THE number of actual refunds.

pretty normal numbers if you ask me.
I don't follow you on this one ! Sure the 50 millions encompass costs that are not directly going to gamers pockets but still, it is money they would not have to pay if there were no refunds.

And the amount of them sure must not be higher than your average game on PC, but on consoles that is a different story, where I guess the rate of refunds must not go higher than 0% - 1% usually, even for broken games (simply because you have no really refund policies there). For Cyberpunk we are talking about 15 to 20 times this amount.

But the real issue is that sales have nearly stopped on console, I really hope that the game can come back to a virtuous cycle around next gen launch (or even before) and be back at the top of the charts, instead of the ever lasting COD & FIFA. It deserves it imho.
 

Max_Po

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Well, I was dumb enough to preorder the limited edition xbox1x .... still feel ripped off.

One of the worst "games" I have ever played...
 
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RPS37

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Bought the special edition console.
Still waiting for the real game to release.
On the bright side, i think the console is actually going to be more of a collector’s item because of the snafu.
 

Zeroing

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What is the lesson here?
Did we gamers learned something about all this mess?
 
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And there's your updated news on the matter.

Do you react the same every time a news story comes up again on the headlines with an update to the developing story?

I think these newly created threads can be super pointless if it's just an update to an already reported news though, so don't get me wrong.
What’s your point? Cause I don’t see it.
My point was - those returns are irrelevant and not a big drama if you consider how well the game sold anyway.

Much bigger problem was the drop of the company’s value which used to have a bigger market cap than Ubisoft. Not to mention the damage to their reputation.

 
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What’s your point? Cause I don’t see it.
My point was - those returns are irrelevant and not a big drama if you consider how well the game sold anyway.

Much bigger problem was the drop of the company’s value which used to have a bigger market cap than Ubisoft. Not to mention the damage to their reputation.


Ouch that's a lot of money lost

Why I never invest in pure gaming companies
 
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kyussman

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Could have spent that 50 million on keeping the game in development longer,then they could have released it in a finished state and kept their reputation intact....anyway,I'll play this game one day,lol.
 

BlackTron

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Great lesson to be learned here. Not just by CDPR. Everyone was watching and don't want to be those guys.

This showed that their technique was simply too dangerous. Even if you say "best case it works, worst case some money is refunded", you are wrong, worst case is that your reputation is ruined and your market cap plummets. Even if the game still made bank, those are serious hits. You end up in a situation where you have a lot of 'splaining to do to the customers, and platform holders, and your own upper management/suits.

It don't think Sony is very impressed lol, it's all very embarrassing for CDPR.
 

Panajev2001a

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so the reward they get for offering refunds no questions asked even to people that already beat the game is "i don't care you are a shit company anyway"

and the reward you get for not offering refunds at all, promising to fix the game and then canceling that fix after 2 years of frozen development like EA and Bioware did with anthem is "you are shit company but i'm hyped for mass effect legendary edition anyway"

sounds to me like treating gamers like shit or giving them their money back is the same thing so why bother?

as i said Marcin. don't fix the game haters online don't matter. everyone online seems to hate activision bobby kotick and call of duty and yet it sells 20 million copies every year. Same for EA and FIFA. Same for Fortnite and Epic. who's buying them then?
I am not saying they are shit regardless and offering refunds does not matter, but I am not going to paint them as saints like a good corporate apologist or blind CP fan just because of that.
You are free to misrepresent what people say… “treating gamers like shit == giving money back” this is almost as representing what some people have been saying almost as honestly as CDPR were representing the Xbox One and PS4 versions ;).

Offering refunds is good, but it is the bare minimum considering they misled customers who were preordering last generation versions. They knew the state of the game and barred reviewers from even showing those versions to keep preorders up: they knew it was problematic but they were counting on hype and some blind angry fans defending it under any circumstance.
 

GHG

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Ouch that's a lot of money lost

Why I never invest in pure gaming companies

Was thinking about going in for some NTDOY the other day then I looked at their chart and saw what happened during the Wii - > Wii U era... That would have been the good time to buy, not now. There's more probability of it going down than up from where it is now.

So basically, CDPR might actually be a good buy right now if they learn from this.
 
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