Starbreeze is the latest company to reveal its financial results for 2020, and while the news isn’t exactly positive, it’s not completely doom and gloom either. The company has managed to reduce its losses when compared to 2019 despite declining sales. However, if the company doesn’t manage to find a publisher for Payday 3 soon, their chances of survival aren’t looking good.
Starbreeze reduced their losses to SEK 49.3 million ($5.9 million) in 2020, down from SEK 116.5 million ($14 million) last year. According to CEO Tobias Sjögren, this is because the company “executed two capital raises during the year and paid off a large proportion of our debts”. The company has finally managed to stabilize itself after undergoing reconstruction that involved the cancellation of Overkill’s The Walking Dead, selling off subsidiaries, selling publishing rights to games like System Shock 3, laying off staff and several applications to extend the deadline before administrators took over.
The company saw a 20% decline in sales this year, producing a total of SEK 118 million ($14.2 million). The Payday franchise accounted for nearly 95% of those sales, despite Payday 2 updates ceasing on console because of optimisation requirements. The title continues to do incredibly well on PC since updates were resurrected there, becoming the biggest game community on Steam with 7.1 million members by December 2020. This explains why their future relies so much on Payday 3 and development of this title will continue during 2021. Sjögren said:
Starbreeze is a much stronger company today than it was one year ago. We are hugely confident, thirsting for revenge and thrilled to be able to focus to the max on developing our IP with Payday front and center. With expanded development capacity and continued good demand for everything Payday, we are in prime position for future growth.
The problem is Payday 3 is yet to find a publisher. The game is currently due to release in 2022/23, but a community update at the end of January revealed the company has been searching for a publisher for over a year. The “right partner in crime” must be “somebody who shares the same respect for the community and love for the game as we do”, according to Sjögren. Starbreeze’s financial report explains why the future looks bleak if this doesn’t happen:
Without additional financing, liquidity injections from divestitures or distribution agreements for Payday 3, the company could experience a liquidity shortfall in the fourth quarter of 2021. This entails risk that the company will not have sufficient secured funds to guarantee continued operations for the next 12 months.
The board of directors is hopeful they’ll be able to find a publisher for the game, and for the company’s other projects. Only time will tell whether they’ll manage to keep themselves afloat for another year.