Despite Cyberpunk 2077's woes, CDPR board members will allegedly take massive bonuses

Apparently, while many of CD Projekt RED's staff will take bonuses for work on Cyberpunk 2077, some are lower than expected while board members and leads run in the millions.

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Cyberpunk 2077’s overall launch was horribly mismanaged. It doesn’t feel taboo to say that much. The shady restrictions on information about previous-gen versions of the game, the rush to move it out despite issues, and its shocking state of a bugged mess at the supposed 1.0 were just a few among numerous issues that made it an infamous late release of 2020. Granted, CDPR has worked tirelessly to spruce up the leaky ship that is Cyberpunk 2077 since with numerous extensive patches, but it’s been a long road back to any semblance of good graces. That’s why it may (or may not) come as a surprise that CDPR leads and board members seem to be taking million dollar bonuses with respect to the game.

This claim came out of a recent report over at Bloomberg that alleges that bonuses are rolling out to CDPR management, board members, and staff at the polish developer/publisher. At the highest level, CD Projekt co-CEOs Marcin Iwiński and co-CEO Adam Kiciński will supposedly be getting bonuses running at around $6 million. Similar payouts to a number of the CD Projekt board will run around a supposed collective $28 million.

In addition to bonuses all around, Cyberpunk 2077 also apparently did well enough to warrant the opening of a new CD Projekt office in Vancouver.
In addition to bonuses all around, Cyberpunk 2077 also apparently did well enough to warrant the opening of a new CD Projekt office in Vancouver.

As noted, bonuses do seemingly include the development staff. However, the report also alleges that the bonuses at the studio level are lower than expected, supposedly ranging from the $5,000 on the lower end to $20,000 for senior employees in vast contrast to the executive and lead levels.

Concerns over the appropriateness of such bonuses were brought up on a recent investor conference call, to which Adam Kiciński seemingly claimed the bonuses were always tied to a certain agreement.

“We earned this money and the company earned this money, of course, but more net profits, more bonuses,” Kiciński explained. “So well, we have results, we get bonuses, and that’s the contract we have.”

This comes on top of the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 caused so much controversy that refund policies had to be updated around it and Sony delisted the game from the PS Store altogether. It forced Marcin Iwiński to issue an apology for the state of the game and has since led to massive patches like Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 1.2, which brought an encyclopedic list of fixes to the game.

Nonetheless, Cyberpunk 2077 also sold over 14 million copies despite these issues in 2020 alone.

Whether it’s fair or not and regardless of agreements in place, Cyberpunk 2077 was arguably mismanaged to an insane degree during its launch. It seems safe to say that leadership over the game taking home such a massive payday despite any and all of that while employees take a paltry sum in comparison doesn’t do CDPR’s image further favors.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      April 30, 2021 8:35 AM

      Super fucked up

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      April 30, 2021 9:35 AM

      Glad its all working out in the end.

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      April 30, 2021 9:48 AM

      Lets be honest, not matter your opinion of the game it sold really well. Of course the people running the company, will make more than the employees.

      For what its worth - based on Witcher 3, CDP pay a way better bonus to employees than I've seen in the countless other games industry places I've worked at over the last 25 years.

      If it sold as much as they said it did, why wouldn't they take a large bonus?

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        April 30, 2021 9:49 AM

        Because the next time CDPR releases a game nobody is going to preorder? Short term results oriented thinking tanks companies in the long run.

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          April 30, 2021 9:51 AM

          Whether people preorder or not has nothing to do with the bonus the employees will get. You're bringing the state of release into this, and the article and my comments are based around the bonus system there.

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            April 30, 2021 9:57 AM

            I'm not arguing against the letter of the law; only the spirit. I don't think such a bonus system is valuable for the prolonged life of a company.

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          April 30, 2021 9:53 AM

          i'll pre-order their next game (actually that's a lie, i never preorder, but i'll buy it on launch). i played CP2077 at launch and it was my GOTY.

          i think the idea that absolutely everyone was dissatisfied with the game is demonstrably false at this point. mistakes were made, launch obviously could've been better, but if we look back to the end of the last generation, it wasn't exactly groundbreakingly bad.

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            April 30, 2021 9:54 AM

            I'm with you - I got 2 complete runs out of it and super enjoyed it. I've been accused before of being a liar because I said I enjoyed it haha

          • Zek legacy 10 years
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            April 30, 2021 4:34 PM

            Yeah I thought it was fun, I played it to completion which is more than I can say for the vast majority of games.

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            April 30, 2021 5:11 PM

            I enjoyed it too.

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          April 30, 2021 7:53 PM

          I hadn’t played Witcher games so this was my first impression of the studio (first hand) and I only played it for about 5 hours before I uninstalled it and puked in a bucket but I’ll definitely give them another chance.

          A casualty of COVID IMO.

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        April 30, 2021 10:03 AM

        Because fuck management that did none of the real work. Five fucking worthless people got more than the almost 900 people that put in the real work probably doing 80 hour weeks. Not to mention the contractors who probably also contributed and got paid nothing at all.

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        April 30, 2021 12:08 PM

        What are the bonuses looking like for the rank & file staff that pulled 80-hour weeks during extended crunch?

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      April 30, 2021 9:51 AM

      The marketing team should get all the money. They marketed this so well and scammed 10 million pre orders.

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      April 30, 2021 10:01 AM

      Here is Scheier's piece. Absolutely fucked situation for the workers. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2021-04-30/cyberpunk-managers-still-win-big-bonuses-after-shoddy-game-launch

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        April 30, 2021 12:11 PM

        Jason is implying rather forcefully that the mainline workers should get the profit bonuses. I mean sure, if socialism is what the goal is, I'm all for that.

        But that's entirely separate than the quality of the game. Wither 3 was a "good" game and those same folks got the bonuses. That's kind of how companies are run in capitalism

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          April 30, 2021 12:43 PM

          That's kind of how companies are run in capitalism

          Yeah, that’s the problem. As are stupid facile statements about socialism.

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            April 30, 2021 1:41 PM

            OH NO I'M STUPID

            Great stuff man, please don't take my lunch money too

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              April 30, 2021 4:16 PM

              Didn’t call you stupid. I called the stupid thing you said stupid.

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      April 30, 2021 12:06 PM

      Welcome to capitalism people. Making money makes you money.

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      April 30, 2021 1:35 PM

      the only problem here is who votes on the bonus amount/structure? do the workers get a sufficient share of votes in how much of the profits are shared to employees and in what way? or is the profit sharing decided only by the rich execs/board members?

      It's almost invariable the latter and for some very strange reason the execs happen to always decide on a bonus structure that suggests they are primarily responsible for the products success and not the other 100-1000s of people?

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        April 30, 2021 1:52 PM

        companies are not democracies - employees don't get to vote on stuff.

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          April 30, 2021 2:12 PM

          indeed it is the most American thing to devoutly believe in democracy only as a political system but not as a system for allocating wealth, resources, rewards, or assistance.

          Fortunately some people are recognizing the vast income inequality in this country where execs pat each other on the back with millions of dollars in handouts is not right and one way to balance it out would be to give more power to the people who actually did the work.

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          April 30, 2021 2:46 PM

          that's why we have unions

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            April 30, 2021 2:48 PM

            Unions have almost no impact on the on executive pay

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              April 30, 2021 3:11 PM

              guess why executives fight so hard against unions to stop them from getting a meaningful share of votes among the board members for exec and worker compensation? guess why execs don't leave it up to the employees to choose how much execs vs workers should get in bonuses? This seems pretty intuitively obvious. But we can look at data too:

              We find evidence that labor unions affect chief executive officer (CEO) compensation.
              ...
              Base don more than 18,000 firm-years from 1993 to 2011, we find that a 1-standard-deviation increase in the industry unionization rate is associated with roughly9.2% lower total CEO compensation ($0.26 million) for the median CEO in our sample.
              ...
              We find a significantly negative relation between executive compensationand unionization. The negative association is more pronounced for firms locatedin states with no right-to-work laws, for firms located in states with lower un-employment rates, for firms with more concentrated business, and for firms thatare closer to financial distress. Furthermore, we find that passing a union electionleads to a reduction in total CEO compensation. These findings suggest that thenegative relation between CEO compensation and unionization rates is, at leastpartially, attributable to union pressure to constrain CEO compensation


              https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/394B191FBA84A754F2DF5123DDEB31A0/S0022109017000072a.pdf/effect_of_labor_unions_on_ceo_compensation.pdf

              We estimate the relation between union presence and executive compensation using a unique panel of executives in publicly listed US firms during the period 1992-2001. We find evidence that union presence is associated with lower levels of total executive compensation. We find this union effect to be primarily the result of substantially lower stock option awards, and to a lesser extent due to lower cash pay. Moreover, the negative relation between unionization and executive remuneration becomes larger at the higher end of the conditional distribution of executive remuneration. We also find that the elasticity of cash pay to financial performance is similar across unionized and non-unionized firms, and that union presence is associated with a more compressed intra-firm and inter-firm executive compensation structure.

              https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228222234_What_do_Unions_do_to_Executive_Compensation

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                April 30, 2021 3:22 PM

                also this is only looking at the effect of unions, which are still relatively weak compared to the company. You would expect an even greater effect if we had sectoral bargaining which gave workers even more power than an individual union at an individual location/store/company.

                In large part because it leads to greater coverage, sectoral bargaining also reduces economic inequality to a greater degree than does enterprise bargaining. Worksite bargaining is certainly good at reducing economic inequality. Indeed, one study found that that about one-third of the rise in inequality among men since 1973 was due to the decline of union membership in the United States.12 However, sectoral bargaining can achieve demonstrably more. A review of more than one hundred different studies concluded that “[t]he most robust result is that countries with a high level of bargaining coordination tend to have a more compressed wage distribution.”

                https://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/economy/reports/2019/07/10/174385/promote-sectoral-bargaining-united-states/

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                  April 30, 2021 3:37 PM

                  i will never understand how tirelessly some people lick boots in this world

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                    April 30, 2021 3:57 PM

                    I mean, at least just make a honest argument that CEO's deserve 10s of millions of dollars and 50% of the profit share. It's just so obviously nonsensical to say CEO compensation would be unchanged if workers got to vote on it as heavily as the CEO's friends on the board get to vote on it.

                    I can buy there are a few CEOs who truly do provide unreal value far above what's available even from an above average other CEO candidate but these are the Michael Jordon and Lebron James of the business world (Jobs, Bezos, etc). The average CEO is just nowhere near this level though. One way to test that would be to give employees sufficient compensation based on company performance and then let them vote on exec compensation. If they truly think the CEO is that critical to the company's performance and the employee's subsequent company performance based compensation then maybe they'll vote to make sure he or she is compensated enough to stay.

                    Personally I think I'd have a hard time arguing someone like Bobby Kotick is providing 10s of millions in economic value to Activision when that org can probably churn out new Call of Duty games on auto pilot now.

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                      April 30, 2021 5:10 PM

                      I wish we had a “Value Over Replacement CEO” advanced stat

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                        April 30, 2021 5:13 PM

                        plenty of exec types imagine this type of metric for their employees (looking for a 'rockstar dev' who is 10x value over the average dev right?) but don't want you to try to quantify their performance similarly or they might get some uncomfortable questions about their compensation

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                      April 30, 2021 7:16 PM

                      CEOs would deserve the kind of compensation they get if they actually bared the legal responsibility of the company personally. But they don't. They can mismanage a company into the ground displacing thousands of jobs and then bail out on their golden parachute and retire in style. It's ridiculous.

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                        April 30, 2021 7:44 PM

                        What do you mean, it takes another person to trigger any legal preceding.
                        Either civil, then it's the board + shareholders
                        Or criminal, then it's the prosecutor.

                        I don't know how else any legal fillings could be triggered.

                        What do you propose?

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                          April 30, 2021 7:45 PM

                          I propose they don't deserve the compensation.

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                          April 30, 2021 8:04 PM

                          "You failed to keep the company alive here's $20m extra for trying on top of your $10m/year in normal compensation" vs "You failed to keep the company alive so we are disbursing $20m in severance to the employees who no longer have jobs thanks to your mismanagement" is probably a better system but one you'd only get if workers get to vote on CEO compensation instead of board members

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                    April 30, 2021 5:13 PM

                    Some have trudged through the layer cake and wish but only for others to know their misery.

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              April 30, 2021 3:12 PM

              but they do on working conditions; executives don't get paid if workers go on strike and miss the delivery date

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      April 30, 2021 1:56 PM

      sony has entered the channel
      PSstore: LOL R U SRS

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      April 30, 2021 2:03 PM

      [deleted]

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      April 30, 2021 3:37 PM

      This is really just CDPR's real-life meta commentary that goes with Cyberpunk 2077, all part of the storytelling

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      April 30, 2021 6:25 PM

      There's been questions in the industry from various marketing teams about wanting to continue using this game in Marketing at all because of how shitty it was received. I don't disagree.

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