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Starbreeze profits dip as it doubles down on new Payday projects

Starbreeze's second-quarter investor’s report indicates that the publisher is still grappling with losses, even though sales are up.

The once-financially-troubled publisher Starbreeze is still struggling to consistently turn a profit even as game sales rise year-over-year at the company.

In the company’s second-quarter investor’s report, covering the three-month period ending June 30, 2021, it brought in SEK 32 million (about $3.67 million) in net sales, slightly up from SEK 31.2 million ($3.5 million) in the second quarter of 2020.

During the quarter however, the company reported a pre-tax loss of SEK 80 million (a loss of about $9 million). That’s a big dip from Q1 to Q2--in the 2021 first financial quarter, Starbreeze only reported a loss of SEK 4.2 million (about $480,000).

CEO Tobias Sjören contextualized the loss as being part of a deal struck with Canadian mobile game publisher PopReach to publish Payday Crime War, the mobile version of the Payday franchise.

“The agreement reduces our development expenses, while we continue to see good opportunities for future licensing revenue,” he wrote. “Adjusted for [this agreement], we see an adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of SEK 16.8 million, an increase of SEK 1.3 million during the quarter compared to the same quarter previous year.”

Converting those numbers tell us that accounting for the PopReach agreement, the company’s adjusted EBITDA clocked in at about $1.9 million, slightly up about $150,000 from this time last year.

It’s all a lot of doubling down on the Payday franchise, but that's exactly what Starbreeze believes will prevent it from landing back in the situation that caused it to enter reconstruction in 2018.  Sjören reported that Payday 3 has entered the formal production phase, which means that along with Payday Crime War, the co-op heist game will continue to be the driving force for Starbreeze’s financials.

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