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CD Projekt full-year 2021 financials marred by slow Cyberpunk sales

CD Projekt's full-year 2021 financial results are in, and Cyberpunk 2077 sales are slowing down.

CD Projekt has posted its full-year financial results for the year ending December 31, 2021, and while the company still has a strong financial profile, the sales numbers for Cyberpunk 2077 show that its calamity-laden launch is still impacting the company.

In its report, CD Projekt boasted that the company has sold 18 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077. That's a lot of sales! But almost 14 million of those sales landed between December 10 and December 31, 2020, at the end of fiscal year 2020. 

That means in 2021 it only sold about 4.3 million copies of the game. That's a 68 percent drop in sales between the two time periods.

Other companies would beg for that sales count, but this is CD Projekt, which sold over 40 million copies of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt since the game's 2015 launch (boosting the series' overall sales to over 65 million copies). 

It's hard to compare the two games' first years since they cover different time periods, but Cyberpunk 2077 isn't trailing that far behind The Witcher 3. Sales of The Witcher 3 dropped about 55 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Cyberpunk 2077 did beat The Witcher 3's first year of sales (though again, hard to directly compare their time periods), but The Witcher 3's major success was becoming a long-term, year-over-year revenue machine for CD Projekt. Revenue from game sales would climb again in 2017 and 2019, the latter backed by the debut of the Netflix series based on the original Witcher books by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Netflix is working on an anime directly inspired by Cyberpunk 2077, but it's unclear if it will have the same mass appeal as its Henry Cavill-starring cousin.

The rest of CD Projekt's financial report for 2021 remains fairly solid. Revenue dropped 58 percent from 2020 to 2021, going from 2.1 billion PLN (about $499 million), to about 888 million PLN (about $207 million). 

Net profit also dipped 58 percent from 1.15 billion PLN to about 209 million PLN. Both drops occurred in a year where CD Projekt did not release a new game, and expanded operations with new studio arms in Vancouver and Boston.

Looking forward, CD Projekt's 2022 financials will be impacted by the announced delay of a PS5/Xbox Series X|S port of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This week, the company announced that it was moving development from its porting partner Saber Interactive.

No reason was given for the move, though Saber Interactive is a Russian studio, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine has impacted game development in the region.

For now, CD Projekt will keep chugging away at two triple-A titles, one of which has been confirmed to be a new Witcher game. 

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