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[Test] Starbreeze admits Payday 3 is massively underperforming updated

The studio believes it can rehabilitate the struggling title but has warned there's no "simple" fix.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

February 14, 2024

2 Min Read

[This unedited press release is made available courtesy of Game Developer and its partnership with notable game PR-related resource Games Press]

Payday 3 maker Starbreeze has explained the co-op shooter is currently performing at "significantly lower levels" than it would like. The developer explained sales and player activity are way below expectations, and said rehabilitating the title remains its "biggest focus and absolute priority."

Payday 3 launched for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X | S in September 2023 but has seemingly struggled to win over players. The title currently has a 'mixed' rating on Steam with over 36,000 user reviews, although the vast majority of recent reviews have been 'mostly negative.'

In January, Starbreeze said it had formed a "strike team of veteran developers" to help reshape the game in the short and long term. In its year-end report for 2023, the company reiterated that plan and suggested that by incorporating player feedback and working closely with co-publishing partner Plaion it can weather the storm. 

"There are many examples from the game industry, where a problematic initial time on the market is turned into long-term success. There is no simple recipe available, but a common thread from the positive examples is to take players' criticism to heart, dare to support your game and keeping an open and honest dialogue with your stakeholders," wrote the company.

"That is exactly what we are now doing with Payday 3. Few companies are blessed with a brand as strong as Payday. At a time when our most recent game is lagging, Payday 2 has fared slightly better than expected financially and with more than 400,000 active players in single months during the quarter. It shows the strength of the brand, and our potential to convert these to Payday 3 as we deliver on our commitments."

During the final quarter of the year, Starbreeze invested SEK 41 million ($3.9 million) into its projects and internal technologies, and said the bulk of that cash was spent on Payday 3 and its unnamed D&D-licensed RPG, Project Baxter.

The Swedish company delivered net sales of SEK 633.5 million ($60.4 million) across the entire fiscal year, with Payday 3 contributing SEK 477 million ($45.5 million) in revenue. It also reported annual profits (before tax) of SEK 207.7 million ($19.8 million) and said it's on sure footing with "a strong cash position and a balance sheet largely free of debt."

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Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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