It is safe to say that Cyberpunk 2077 launched particularly grimly in December last year. As the game struggled to run on state-of-the-art consoles, CD Projekt eventually began providing a refund to players, while Sony completely removed the game from the PlayStation Store (from which it is still missing). Since then, CD Projekt has issued various apologies for the launch, promising to continue to fix the game and correct its many mistakes.
Thanks to the large number of pre-orders, the game still sold 13.7 million copies, which helped CD Projekt make over £ 21
CD Projekt’s annual profit-sharing plan reports 20 percent of its annual earnings distributed as bonuses: 10 percent goes to employees and the remaining 10 percent goes to the board. According to a statement by CD Projekt (via Bloomberg), a total of $ 29.8 million is distributed among 865 employees, an average of $ 34 thousand per employee. Bloomberg notes that there are also some smaller performance bonuses for staff earlier this year.
As for how the money is actually split, Bloomberg reports that some employees receive bonuses ranging from $ 5k to $ 9k, and older employees approach $ 15k or $ 20k. Meanwhile, five members of CD Projekt’s executive board receive bonuses totaling $ 28 million.
As detailed in the company’s recent annual report, board members Marcin Iwinski and Adam Kicinski receive a $ 6.3 million bonus, while CEO Adam Badowski receives $ 4.2 million. It is worth noting that managers have made a financial blow to their shares, as four board members own 33 percent of the company’s shares (which was severely shattered after the failure of Cyberpunk 2077). But personally, I still wouldn’t smell a bonus of a few million dollars.
In a call for revenue for the financial results, Adam Kicinski was asked if it was “appropriate” for the members of the executive board to take half of the bonus distribution in light of the failed start (via Seeking Alpha).
“Nothing has changed lately … and nearly half of them go to the board,” Kitsinski confirmed. “We have results, we get bonuses and that’s the contract we have.” Kiciński added that it was “too early to say” whether the stock scheme would be relocated in the future.
Bloomberg heard from an employee that CD Projekt had at least made some effort to re-evaluate salaries and increase salaries for those in the lowest paid roles (such as QA testing), but the gap between executives ‘and employees’ bonuses remains wide. And perhaps, if the management of CD Projekt had chosen to postpone the release of Cyberpunk 2077 until it was really ready for release, the game’s sales could have been even better – it made a big difference to developers at the bottom of the paycheck.
In other generously compensated executive news, Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick cut salaries by 50 percent, but it looks like he will still be able to win millions in bonuses.