CD Projekt’s Cyberpunk 2077, the highly anticipated video game featuring Hollywood star Keanu Reeves, attracted huge interest on debut on Thursday, though some players flagged technical issues with the Polish developer’s latest offering.
The game, which took eight years to develop, takes place across a detailed futuristic city where players take the first-person perspective of a customisable mercenary outlaw known as V.
Its launch after three delays comes when people stuck in their homes due to COVID-19 have boosted demand for games but new titles are in short supply as developers working from home find it difficult to adhere to timelines.
CD Projekt Chief Executive Adam Kicinski told reporters that while the company would have preferred less bugs in the game, it did not consider delaying its premiere a fourth time.
“This is coming out as a big title with not a lot of competition out there so we do expect it to be pretty big,” said David Cole, founder of research firm DFC Intelligence.
Jefferies analyst Lyra Li estimates that Cyberpunk, which is priced at $59.99 for a standard version, could sell 33 million units from its launch until end of 2021.
It is expected to break records set by Nintendo’s runaway hit “Animal Crossing,” which launched in March and has sold 22.4 million units in two quarters.
Before the pandemic Cole had expected the game to sell about 30 million units in 2021, but now thinks that it could even reach 40 million.
Pre-orders topped 8 million copies as of the end of Wednesday, implying pre-sales exceeded 32 million units over six weeks versus market consensus of 30 million over 12 months, JP Morgan analysts said.
Barclays analysts said that numbers on streaming platforms Steam and Twitch signaled “a strong launch” for Cyberpunk and strong performance for its future multi-player version.
However, CD Projekt shares - which have surged 42% this year in anticipation of Cyberpunk’s launch - were 3% lower at 1017 GMT as some in the market booked profits after the price hit a record high on Monday.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the biggest game the company had in the works since the 2015 debut of “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”
Witcher’s success made CD Projekt one of Poland’s biggest listed companies with a market capitalization of $10.8 billion.
Cyberpunk will be immediately available on older consoles from Sony and Microsoft, and playable on newly-launched consoles next year.
The PC version scored 91 points on the Metacritic 100-point scale after the first 43 reviews, compared to The Witcher 3′s 92 points based on 32 reviews. It received acclaim for its world design, characters.
Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.