Last week the video game Cyberpunk 2077, a sequel to the popular 90s board game Cyberpunk 2020 was released.
The launch was a complete failure unless you own a PC. Three days after the release, the share price of CD Projekt RED (the creators of Cyberpunk 2077) had dropped 40%. The co-founders lost the equivalent of $1bn in personal equity.
They missed some small but very critical details. Value can be created or lost and there are lessons Private Equity can from CDPR’s failures.
9/10 reviews were downgraded 4/10 overnight
The marketing and hype for this game was huge, the experience didn’t live up to the hype.
The only version of the game that ‘worked’ was the version given to journalists. The other 4 platforms were held back till release day. It just didn’t work on these other platforms PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
After 8 years of development this is not acceptable.
The management were too focused on releasing the game in 2020
“We as the management board were too focused on releasing the game,” said CDPR joint-CEO Adam Kiciński. “We underestimated the scale and complexity of the issues, we ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game.“
Developers Bonus linked to review scores
What I didn’t know is that game studios often link review scores and release dates to the bonus they pay their staff. When you understand this a clearer picture starts to form.
It’s all very suspicious.
What could they have done instead?
Testing would have been a good start. It’s clear the QA processes on this game were not there.
Focusing on the small details early in the lifecycle could have avoided these issues. It’s much simpler to build software from a strong base than it is to try to reverse engineering quality.
People want software that just works; software that’s simple and easy to use. Once you have this you can build with a strong foundation.
What will you do next?
How much value will you add by focusing on small details? How can you leverage technology to create a robust experience? How will you make your customers feel special?
P.S I will be returning my copy of the game. At time of writing Sony have pulled this game from their online store and are offering automatic refunds.