Recently, CD Projekt Red took stock of how they were doing in the year of 2019 so far. They found that The Witcher 3 is still their top earning product, four years after release. That means The Witcher 3 sold more in the first half of this year than last year. Unconfirmed sources also suggest it is still outperforming preorders for Cyberpunk 2077. After such a length of time, it’s unclear how The Witcher 3 has achieved this. Although, we could theorise that people re-buy the product after fond memories get the better of them all too easily. Or perhaps a portion of consumers moved from one platform to another and just had to have it there as well. Perhaps the upcoming Netflix series is helping. No doubt, The Witcher 3’s upcoming Switch release will continue to bolster its successes as well.
The Witcher 3 Overcame Incredible Challenges
Taking stock for a moment – The Witcher 3 is an open-world game that offers over 300 hours of play, perhaps even more with both DLCs involved. What’s more, CD Projekt Red’s team had far less funding than its genre counterparts like GTA V. The team at the time was about a third the size of Rockstar’s and still managed to produce the masterpiece we see today. On top of that, they redefined what open-world games were capable of. They upped the pressure for other studios to meet the same standard or do better. On top of this, it was CDPR’s first ever attempt at open world design and they crushed it. Does your open world have trees that bend in the wind?
Our financial result for the first half of the year was again mainly affected by sales of The Witcher 3, which remain strong. This further confirms our belief that investing in top-quality games pays off, and that such games may continue to sell well for many years. In the first half of 2019 gamers actually purchased more copies of The Witcher 3 than during the first half of the previous year! – Piotr Nielubowicz, Vice President and CFO of CD Projekt Red.
So when we consider this incredible achievement from CD Projekt Red, with what comparatively little they had compared to other AAA studios, it all rather makes a mockery of the wider industry’s insistence on microstractions. Some studios may tell you microtransactions are needed to keep the lights on. But CD Projekt Red released a massive, fully fleshed out game that was actually good in every way. As a result, they don’t need microtransactions to “keep the lights on”. Instead they focused on making a product so good it pays for their lights and probably their lunches as much as four years later.
In fact, The Witcher 3 has provided such a solid bedrock for CD Projekt Red that they’re able to confidently announce a “dual project” business structure going into the future. We can likely assume this means they’ll be all about Cyberpunk and The Witcher for the foreseeable future. Again, let’s bear in mind the cutthroat and changeable nature of game development today. Anything from staffing issues, to legal copyright battles to unbeatable game bugs can stop a game’s development in its tracks. The Witcher 3 and CD Projekt Red’s understanding of its audience has allowed them to make this statement. It tells us just how safe and sound CD Projekt Red is and it’s all thanks to The Witcher 3 and their incredible work ethic… Nary a microtransaction to be seen, with the exception of Gwent, which is free to play.
CD Projekt Red Are Now A Massive Success And It’s Not Because of Microtransactions
When looking at the company’s continued prosperity and growth, CD Projekt Red had the following statement to share:
Managing two separate major franchises (The Witcher and Cyberpunk), along with several independent development teams, enables the company to conduct parallel work on several projects and smoothens its long-term release schedule. This migration towards a dual-franchise model supported by several independent product lines also permits optimization of manufacturing and financial activities, mitigates important risk factors and makes it easier for company employees to seek professional fulfillment.
In layman’s terms, this confirms that CD Projekt Red has no need of microtransactions and likely never will. All they will need are two major franchises that each execute on a vision with expert precision. That expert execution is adored by the consumer who will fork out with a smile. The sad part of all this is hindsight. A hindsight that reminds us older gamers that this was how the industry used to be across the board. Before microtransactions posed as a dangerous dangling carrot, the industry was like this across the board. Game developers had to employ the same pursuit of quality as CD Projekt Red without leaning on desperate monetisation or post release game patches.
CD Projekt Red Understands Us In A Way Few Studios Do
Finally, please check out the below video to end today’s look at CD Projekt Red. I’ve discussed today the many ways that CD Projekt Red understands their audience. Below is simply another example of the fact. CD Projekt Red CEO and Founder Marcin Iwinski discusses DRM in PC gaming. He understands that some games have such aggressive DRM that a legal copy performs worse than a pirated one. His simple solution is to not bother with DRM at all. Instead, he focuses on creating an excellent product. Not only will people want to put money down with no questions asked. But they’ll also advise potential thieves not to pirate. The game will take care of itself if it is brilliant. I think Marcin understands no game can reach that status if microtransactions are involved.