Polish games maker tries to avoid getting punked

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CD Projekt’s “Cyberpunk 2077” game is seen in Warsaw, Poland, December 14, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

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LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters Breakingviews) - CD Projekt’s (CDR.WA) management is playing things cautiously. The $4.5 billion Polish video game developer, whose decision to launch its bug-ridden “Cyberpunk 2077” title last December caused its share price to almost halve, announced on Wednesday that much-anticipated updates to the game would now come out in early 2022, having previously been scheduled for late 2021.

Thursday’s 7% share price fall reflects missing the busy holiday season, as well as the potential for knock-on delays to future games. But it looks tame in comparison to last winter, when uncertainty around “Cyberpunk”, which accounted for two-thirds of the company’s 2020 revenue, often moved shares by 10% or more in a day. Last month, rival Electronic Arts’ (EA.O) stock fell almost 8% in a week after it delayed its “Battlefield 2042” game, but shares have since recovered. Analyst forecasts compiled by Refinitiv indicate that CD Projekt is now trading at 25 times next year’s EBITDA, almost double the multiple commanded by bigger rivals Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) and EA. To justify that and keep gamers onside, doing things right will be more important than doing them quickly. (By Oliver Taslic)

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Editing by George Hay and Karen Kwok

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