Buying a video game these days often feels like flying with a budget airline. By the time you take into account expansion packs, loot boxes and online gaming fees, a game’s sticker price can end up being just a fraction of the ultimate cost.
That’s why game maker CD Projekt found a special place in the hearts of gaming enthusiasts. Unlike giant rivals Electronic Arts, Activision Blizzard and Take-Two Interactive Software, the Warsaw-based studio made most of its money the old-fashioned way: selling a game that you can fully enjoy without having to keep spending on it.
The strategy helped make its “The Witcher” series a hit — and get adapted into a Netflix show. Over the past five years, the Polish company’s shares jumped 1,800%.
Now the approach seems to have come unstuck.
The stock’s surge had also been driven by the breathless anticipation for “Cyberpunk 2077,” an action role-playing game starring Keanu Reeves that had secured eight million pre-orders. Released last week, players assume the role of an urban mercenary whose abilities are augmented by cyberware implants. But “Cyberpunk” has been beset by poor user reviews and technical glitches, particularly on Sony’s Playstation console and Microsoft’s Xbox.
The extent of the problems prompted Sony to pull the game from its online store on Friday. CD Projekt shares fell as much as 22% on the news, extending the decline that investors have endured since Dec. 4. The company is now valued