Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has put a lot of effort into making things right with fans while trying to move past the game’s disastrous launch. Now it can likely wipe away another blemish: a class-action lawsuit from its investors.
A federal judge in California’s Central District signed off (PDF) on a $1.85 million settlement between CD Projekt Red (CDPR) and a class-action suit led by plaintiff Andrew Trampe and headed by two law firms. Everybody who acquired publicly traded CDPR securities throughout most of 2020 is eligible for settlement funds, roughly $0.49 per eligible share. A consultant for the plaintiffs had previously estimated the maximum potential damages at $11 million.
The original complaint, filed in December 2020, alleged that the Polish developer misled investors and customers about Cyberpunk 2077‘s readiness on then-current-generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. CDPR made “materially false and misleading” statements during the year leading up to release, the complaint alleged, because the company should have known the game “was virtually unplayable on the current-generation Xbox or PlayStation system due to an enormous number of bugs.”
The bugs were not widely known because CDPR only provided PC copies of the game to reviewers before its release (including to Ars). CDPR later apologized for “not showing the game on base last-gen consoles before it premiered,” thus preventing buyers from making “a more informed decision about your purchase.” Days earlier, CDPR had tweeted its thanks to 8 million people who had preordered the game.
The public spectacle around Cyberpunk 2077‘s launch debacle, and the public statements from the company about its failures to recognize problems or inform customers, made an investor suit a near inevitability. Officers of a publicly traded company are legally obligated to act in the best interests of the company and its investors. When a company seems to have misplayed a situation and tarnished its image—and caused a resulting dip in share price—claims are likely to follow.
Cyberpunk 2077 managed to enter an impressive second act, though, given where it started. CDPR smoothed many of its rough edges through numerous patches. An acclaimed anime series on Netflix, Cyberpunk: Edgerunners, reignited interest in the game with “very positive” reviews. And the game recently won a Steam Award for “Labor of Love,” despite dissent from the game’s fans that other games, produced without publicly acknowledged crunch, might have deserved that nod more.
The Central District of California judge set deadlines for determining fees, notifying class members, and final approval of the settlement through June 1, 2023.