Payday 2 and Brothers Help Reverse Starbreeze's Fortunes

Payday 2 and Brothers Help Reverse Starbreeze's Fortunes

The once-ailing Swedish developer has had a complete turnaround thanks to two great games performing strongly.

A recent financial briefing reveals that Swedish developer Starbreeze has been having a tough time since 1998 -- but its fortunes are finally reversing, thanks to its two most recent games.

"Starbreeze historically, from 1998 to June 2013, accumulated a total loss of SEK 94 million [about $14.4m]," said company CEO Bo Andersson Klint. "Thanks to our new business model, reorganization and a focus on our own brands, we have -- in only two quarters -- generated a profit before tax of SEK 104 million [just under $16m]. I would like to think that is what they call a turnaround."

The developer has somehow managed to cling on to life despite working at a loss since 1998, though poorly received games like 2012's ill-advised first-person shooter reboot of Bullfrog's classic Syndicate series didn't help matters. However, the strong critical and commercial reception of its more recent titles Payday 2 and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons have helped bring about this reversal of fortune, with Payday 2 now boasting the fourth largest player community on Steam -- 350,000 active members, though this represents a fraction of the total player base, as not everyone uses Steam's social features -- and the team having signed a new $6 million contract with its publisher 505 Games to continue producing new content for the multiplayer heist 'em up over the course of the next two years.

Short, emotional, artsy puzzle adventure Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was slower to reach profitable status, meanwhile, but has finally done so thanks to a combination of Steam sales and celebration during end-of-year awards time. Andersson particularly highlighted the fact the game won a Spike TV VGX award for "Best Xbox Game," winning out over high-profile triple-A offerings like Grand Theft Auto V, BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider.

"We now have a large cash reserve, have created a stable cost structure, a modern business model, we have continued full control of our own brands and have placed ourselves into a position where we have three games that generate royalties every single day," the CEO concluded. "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons continues to be loved by players and press alike. Payday 2 and its predecessor Payday: The Heist continue to generate new interest and new revenue streams. We are also continuously working on actively creating more income sources around the brand Payday through games, merchandising and spin-off products."

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