Embracer has officially declared that Starbreeze Studio’s Payday 3 has performed below expectations.
As reported by Video Games Chronicle, CEO Lars Wingefors shared this update to investors in a recent earnings call:
“The game had a had a positive Adjusted EBIT contribution with investments recouped in the second quarter, but performed below management expectations,” he said.
“Starbreeze is now hard at work to improve the player experience.”
EBIT stands for earnings before interest and taxes. Without getting deep into the accounting details, Lars says Embracer looked at the company’s earnings numbers. With specific adjustments, they came to the conclusion that Payday 3 made its money back, but is still below expectations.
That likely means that Payday 3 did just enough to break even, or perhaps is only close to being break even.
Payday 3 was released for PlayStation 5, Windows, and Xbox Series X/S on September 21 2023. Unfortunately, its botched launch meant that players were immediately turned off and abandoned the game. As of October, Starbreeze cited that the game had a little over 3 million users. However, as reported by PCGamesN as of last month, publicly accessible figures revealed that the game had lost 90 % of its Steam user base.
Just yesterday, Starbreeze explained that the botched launch happened because the studio found a critical error that would have compromised game saves just after the game went live. Starbreeze was faced with a thankless prospect here; if they made their fix incorrectly, gamers who already got started playing could lose their early saves.
Starbreeze’s solution did preserve their player’s saves, but at a massive hit to their reputation. They created a test environment, a considerably trimmed down version of Payday 3 just for testing changes. They then had to test their updates on this environment to confirm that it would not affect saves. After they came up with a safe update, they finally published the official updates.
Embracer seems to have faith that Starbreeze can get Payday 3 back on track. Certainly, they are on better footing than Volition was when it was shut down.
While Starbreeze’s prospects are quite poor, they at least still have an opportunity to turn it all around and make Payday 3 popular enough again to be profitable.
If we were honest, the Payday games were never truly great at launch. Payday 2 in particular became popular after Starbreeze put in a lot of updates on it, in terms of content and also playability. So Starbreeze really could turn this around, given the lower expectations from their fans who presumably know what to expect from them at this point.