Payday publisher Starbreeze didn't have a good 2019, following it filing for reconstruction to avoid bankruptcy in December the previous year. It sold off studios, laid off 25 percent of its employees and put most of its eggs in the Payday basket. It's now released its end of year earnings report, and while much of it makes for gloomy reading, there's light at the end of the tunnel for the publisher.
Starbreeze spent the whole year in reconstruction, reorganising the company so it could remain solvent, so during that time it wasn't releasing new games. For the full year, the loss before tax was 452.4 million SEK, which amounts to £32.2 million/$46.9 million, though that's significantly less than the the loss of over a billion SEK reported the prior year.
Payday has become something of a beacon of hope for the struggling company. In October, it announced that Payday 2 was returning to active development and that it was hoping to release Payday 3 in the next few years.
CEO Mikael Nermark said that the new DLC for Payday 2 generated better than expected sales and interest, leading to the highest concurrent player count "in some time." The average player count before Payday 2 went back into active development sat around 10,000, according to Steam Charts, but in November it jumped up to 28,000.
More Payday 2 updates will appear this year, too.
"This is a good sign that confirms the interest in a future release of Payday 3 and lays a stable foundation for continued efforts," Starbreeze will release additional updates to Payday 2 in 2020. As of 3 January, sales will gain further momentum through the increase in Starbreeze’s share of sales via Steam from 70 to 75 percent."
As for the sequel, Starbreeze is currently looking for a publishing partner that can "provide financial stability and possesses the marketing and distribution resources required to power the best possible launch and further development of the product." It's aiming to present a publishing agreement to investors soon, before the end of the first half of 2020.