Last Year Was The Witcher 3's Best For Sales Since Launch

Last Year Was The Witcher 3's Best For Sales Since Launch

The PC and Switch were big drivers of the nearly five-year-old game's success.

With about five months to go between now and the delayed launch of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt is looking back on how it performed in 2019 without a major new title to tout. It turns out, they did fine without one—The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt did so well last year, in fact, that it was far and away its best year since it launched in 2015.

That statistic comes from a new Management Board Report, released alongside CD Projekt's 2019 financials today. Released in May of 2015, The Witcher 3's launch year is still its best year in terms of copies sold when you tally up PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but 2019 is a not-too-distant second. On the PC, The Witcher 3 actually outdid 2015's numbers last year—it looks like a thin margin on a chart, but it would've been impressive for a four-year-old triple-A title to even get close to some of its launch figures after so long, let alone to surpass them.

The Witcher 3's long tail of success and massive bump in 2019 was surely influenced, in no small part, by the "high acclaim and excellent viewership numbers" of Netflix's Witcher adaptation. In February, an NPD report indicated that The Witcher 3's sales in December of 2019 (the same month the Netflix show debuted) leapt up 554 percent year-over-year. A new statement underscores the magnitude of that bump: "the fourth quarter of 2019 was the best final period of the year" in CD Projekt's history.

Of note is also the fact that CD Projekt now stands to make more from a significant chunk of its PC sales on The Witcher 3, sale prices or not. Just over a month ago, The Witcher 3 became one of the few games to cross Steam's $50 million sales threshold, meaning all future copies sold on the platform will be for an 80/20 revenue split, up from 75/25 after $10 million in sales.

The recent Witcher 3 Switch port also did tremendously well, bolstering the company's last quarter. It sold 11 percent of the over 6 million copies sold of the game in 2019, outdoing the units sold on Xbox One that year by a fraction.

It's wild that Wild Hunt continues to sell so well. | CD Projekt Red

This is great news for CD Projekt, which has used the intervening years to focus mainly on Cyberpunk 2077. That's shaping up to be a game that, while positioned to be a huge success when it launches in September, seems designed with a long Witcher 3-like trajectory planned. Its planned multiplayer component doesn't seem like it'll launch until 2022, and CD Projekt Red has committed to a free next-gen upgrade for Xbox One owners "when available"—plans for 2077's long life, of course, will hinge on whether it lives up to fan expectations when it's released.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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