CD Projekt's third-quarter profit doubles after 'Phantom Liberty' release

Karolina Kaluzynska, 28, plays CD Projekt's game Cyberpunk 2077 in Warsaw

By Adrianna Ebert

GDANSK (Reuters) -Video games developer CD Projekt's third-quarter net profit doubled from a year earlier, it said on Tuesday, following strong demand for "Phantom Liberty", the long-awaited expansion to the company's flagship game "Cyberpunk 2077".

"Phantom Liberty", the Polish company's first major new game in nearly three years, was released on Sept. 26 and had sold over 4.3 million copies within two months.

The company reported a net profit of 202.9 million zlotys ($51.54 million) for the third quarter, beating the 162 million zlotys expected by analysts and up 105% from a year earlier. Revenue for the period rose 80% year on year to 442.7 million zlotys, it said.

"We are very pleased with the launch of Phantom Liberty. Successful release of the expansion, along with Update 2.0 which introduces a slew of additional improvements, elevates Night City gameplay to another level – in terms of quality," CEO Adam Kicinski said in the earnings statement.

"This is an important achievement given our plans to further develop the franchise," he added.

Chief Commercial Officer Michal Nowakowski said on a conference call that the company's projects are going "according to plan", with Polaris, a new Witcher saga, being at the most advanced stage.

Kicinski added that the team working on Polaris is steadily growing and reached almost 330 developers at the end of last month.

"It's expected to grow to over 400 by mid next year," he added.

Nowakowski also said that the company was "happy" with sales of Phantom Liberty and Cyberpunk last week, which were "strong" thanks to promotional activity linked to Black Friday.

"And the weeks before it, without the promotion, we're obviously quite happy with as well. In terms of fourth quarter, we're not really giving guidance", he added.

($1 = 3.9371 zlotys)

(Reporting by Adrianna Ebert; Additional reporting by Anna Pruchnicka;Editing by David Goodman, Susan Fenton and SDharon Singleton)