Starbreeze slightly stemmed its losses in 2021

Starbreeze had a slow holiday quarter, but steady Payday sales across the year brought down losses that have plagued the company recently.

It's payday for the makers of the Payday series--which is to say, Starbreeze's full financial results for 2021 are now available, and it looks like the company is making progress on getting out of the financial hole it found itself in back in 2019. That said, there were still financial challenges that come with the lack of released games in 2021, including a dip in sales during the normally revenue-rich holiday quarter.

For the three-month period ending December 31, 2021, Starbreeze earned 31.1 million SEK (about $3.3 million) in revenue, which is a four-percent dip from its 2020 fourth-quarter revenue. Losses for Q4 2021 amounted to 13 million SEK, a 20 percent decrease from the prior year.

So weaker revenue, but less money lost--that's not a terrible outcome for the quarter. It looks even better when you put that in the context of Starbreeze's 2021 fiscal year.

Revenue grew 6.5 percent year-over-year from 118 million SEK to 125.7 million SEK. And losses for the year took a big dip, going from 130.5 million SEK to 105.2 million SEK. That means Starbreeze successfully cut losses by 19 percent, just on the back of Payday-driven revenue.

CEO Tobias Sjögren noted that last October marked the 10th anniversary of the Payday franchise, and that the series still racks up a monthly average user count of 788,000 players. The series is continuing to grow on PC platforms, but is apparently seeing declines in revenue on consoles, where Starbreeze has not been as regular in publishing game updates. 

The story of Starbreeze's turnaround won't be complete until games like Payday 3 and Payday Crime War are out of development. There are still key questions for the company on if this one franchise can sustain its entire existence, or if it will need to diversify further to recover from its previous financial struggles. 

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