Digital Bros, the parent company of various publishers including the PC-focused 505 Games, has announced its financial results for the second half of 2020. They show that Kojima Productions' Death Stranding (opens in new tab) managed to generate just over €23 million in revenue ($27 million) on PC in its five months on sale until 31 December.
When 505 signed up the game for PC distribution the publisher hoped for "lifetime revenues in excess of Euro 50 million (opens in new tab) from the personal computer version of the videogame." Given it's yet to receive any serious discounting, you could say Sam Porter Bridges is on his way.
The financials also show that Ghostrunner (opens in new tab) did well, racking up just under €7 million in revenue, and a continuing strong performance from Remedy's Control (opens in new tab) (which has been on sale since late 2019, but during this period generated another €17 million in revenue, for a lifetime total of around €84 million). The publisher's slate also includes even longer-tail titles earning significantly over this period, like Terraria (opens in new tab) (€4.38 million) and Payday 2 (opens in new tab) (€2.3 million).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the financials, however, is a digression on the studio Starbreeze. It mentions that Digital Bros sold back the rights for Payday 2 to Starbreeze in May 2016, for a cool $30 million cash plus a maximum of $40 million in future earnings from Payday 3. There's no more news on Payday's future, but then it goes on to discuss The Walking Dead game developed by the same studio.
Essentially, the game was developed with a budget of $10 million, but was such a sales disaster (opens in new tab) that the console versions and contract were quickly terminated, and Starbreeze was forced to apply to Swedish District Court for corporate restructuring. Digital Bros. subsequently injected some cash and took a stake in the developer.
"The contract provided a development budget of USD 10 million. As at September 30th, 2020, the subsidiary 505 Games S.p.A. had paid USD 4.8 million for the development of such video game. In November 2018, Starbreeze launched the PC version of the video game but the related sales were lower than expected. On February 27th, 2019, Skybound terminated the licence contract for The Walking Dead and, consequently, on April 8th, 2019, the subsidiary 505 Games S.p.A. terminated the contract with Starbreeze for the development and publishing of the console version."
The outlines of this story were already known, though not some of those figures. During this period Starbreeze's CEO resigned, and its offices were raided by Swedish authorities investigating allegations of insider trading (allegations which were eventually proven.) Now? Starbreeze says everything's good, and Payday 3 is on track (opens in new tab).
So, that was all a bit of a disaster. The full Digital Bros. results can be found here (opens in new tab).