CD Projekt said last week that proceedings in the class action lawsuit filed against it in December 2020 over the sorry state of Cyberpunk 2077’s launch had been suspended because an out-of-court settlement was being hammered out. Today, it announced that an agreement has been reached, and assuming the court agrees, the whole thing will go away for $1.85 million.
Under the terms of the settlement, all members of the class “relinquish all claims against the Company and members of its Management Board.” There is also no admission of wrongdoing on CD Projekt’s part: Instead, it said the settlement is being made because fighting the lawsuit could end up costing even more no matter how it works out, along with “the general practice in the US of concluding such litigation by way of an out-of-court settlement,” which strikes me as a rather sad state of affairs.
Even more striking is the relatively paltry amount of the settlement. While $1.85 million isn’t nothing—I could sure make good use of it—it’s a drop in the bucket for CD Projekt. There’s a persistent perception of the company as a scrappy little guy, driven by GOG’s “no DRM” posturing and that it’s really only made one game series of note—The Witcher. But in 2020 it became the most valuable videogame company in all of Europe, with a market valuation of more than $8.1 billion, an amount that surpasses even that of major multiplatform publisher Ubisoft.
Cyberpunk 2077 was a massive moneymaker, too, despite the performance issues and bugs that led to the lawsuit. After eight years of development time and marketing, it earned back all expenses and turned a profit on preorders alone, selling nearly 14 million copies in 2020 and helping to drive a profit of $303 million that year. I’d say $1.85 million to make the legal aggravations go away is an absolute steal. (It’s also less than the $2.2 million CD Projekt paid out through its Cyberpunk 2077 refund program.)
The deal isn’t done quite yet. A formal settlement document has to be drawn up and submitted to the court by January 13, 2022, after which the court has to make a preliminary ruling on the deal, members of the class have to be notified, and then—finally—it goes back to the court for final approval. The whole process is expected to take several months to conclude.