An activist investor in CD Projekt SA wants to oust top executives from Poland’s biggest game studio for the botched release of Cyberpunk 2077 which wiped out more than half of the company’s value.
UK based shelter Advisers, who did not elaborate on the significance of his stake in CD Projekt, wrote to the studio’s board of directors to express “utter dismay and disbelief at the developments of the company over the past 12 months” on behalf of of all shareholders.
CD Project introduced Cyberpunk as the next global blockbuster and one of the most sophisticated role-playing games of all time. Keanu Reeves starred and publicized Futuristic Dystopia while Elon Musk tweeted about it.
But the complexity of the game seems to have overwhelmed the studio. Its release was postponed three times and when it was finally released in December it was so riddled with issues that Sony Group Corp. has been forced to remove it from his online PlayStation store and offer a refund to customers.
Almost six months later, after repeated corrections and apologies from CD Projekt, as well as a hacking incident that delayed the work, the game still has not been restored by Sony. Since Cyberpunk’s debut, the studio’s stock has lost 57%, wiping out 22.6 billion zloty ($ 6.2 billion) in value.
“I don’t think you could have intentionally tried to make as many mistakes as these guys,” Vault CEO Jeffrey Tirman said in an interview. “It’s really shocking.”
He said he would solicit other shareholders to replace the supervisory board unless CEO Adam Kicinski and his deputy Marcin Iwinski are immediately recalled. Shelter, which does not disclose its holdings to Bloomberg or any other data provider, “adds” to its position in CD Projekt and does not short sell the stock, according to Tirman.
The Warsaw-based studio, known for its medieval fantasy games Witcher, said it was aware of the correspondence and would coordinate its response with Supervisory Board Chairman Katarzyna Szwarc. He said none of the issues raised in the letter were mentioned at its annual meeting of shareholders on May 25, which Abri had not registered for.
Tirman said Abri did not participate as he hoped the board would take action to “fix the ship, instead of just hitting the replay button.” The last drops for him were the company’s first quarter results and the board’s reinstatement of the management team.
After reporting the recording Zloty 1.15 billion profit for 2020, fueled by Cyberpunk pre-orders and first sales, the company’s net profit in the first quarter missed the analysts’ average estimate of 62%, underscoring the company’s difficulties in attracting gamers.
Despite a budget of 1.2 billion zlotys, Cyberpunk lost its appeal after gamers complained about bugs, especially in console versions. The company did not release sales figures for the game for the first quarter, saying no milestones were reached after selling 13.7 million copies last year – up from 28 million in its last edition of Witcher.
Tirman, who is also the CEO of the Slovenian sports equipment manufacturer Elan Doo, wants to know how the studio plans to recover.
“I would like the company to present a public plan on how it intends to address any shortcomings and how it plans, from a strategic perspective, to repair its brand and the lost trust between its customers. and its shareholders. ,” he said.