7 Years On, PAYDAY 2 Still Makes Millions

Image: Supplied

Sometimes, it's good to read the detail. The latest financial report from PAYDAY developers Starbreeze Studios was published online this week, and there's some interesting nuggets throughout, including just how popular PAYDAY 2 still is.

The Q4 2019 financial report from the developer, which includes interesting details on how much money Starbreeze lost building up VR theme parks in Stockholm and Dubai, is pretty clear about where the studio's future lies. It's all in PAYDAY 3 and PAYDAY: Crime War, and before the year is done, we'll be hearing a lot more about both games.

According to the financial statement, the company is in talks with publishers for PAYDAY 3 and PAYDAY: Crime War, which it expects to have wrapped up "during the first half of 2020".

But as for the studio's present? Well, PAYDAY 2 is still a huge money spinner. The company announced that revenue of PAYDAY on Steam and for console came to $3.38 million (SEK 21.9 million) in just the fourth quarter of 2019. That's pretty impressive given that PAYDAY 2 launched almost seven years ago on PC and the last console generation, and its most recent port to the Switch wasn't ... great.

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But plenty of people are still buying the game (or its microtransactions). Starbreeze's net sales for the fourth quarter were $7.89 million (SEK 51.1 million), with PAYDAY 2 accounting for $7.84 million (SEK 50.8 million) of that. For the whole of 2019, PAYDAY 2's net sales hit $16.9 million (SEK 109.4 million) with revenues totalling just over $10 million (SEK 66.9 million).

Image: Starbreeze

Interestingly, Starbreeze also made just under $22 million by selling the publishing rights to System Shock 3, Psychonauts 2 and 10 Crowns. Given the rumours floating around about System Shock 3's troubled development, that's not looking like a half bad deal right about now, although it's paltry compared to the almost $59 million (SEK 381.5 million) in losses Starbreeze booked over the year.

On the bright side, Dead by Daylight's sales were literally 133.7 - SEK 133.7 million, to be exact:

There aren't too many companies that are listed on the stock market, and those that are don't usually tend to give exact breakdowns of how well certain games are, at least not in the way Starbreeze has with PAYDAY. That's why it's kind of fascinating to dig into the detail: you don't hear that often, at least not in this formal a setting, about how well older titles do. Everyone knows PAYDAY 2 was a pretty big game, but this gives a bit more clarity on just how big a game it was.

As an aside, this part of the report was pretty interesting:

Image: Starbreeze Q4 2019 Report

It's nice to see concurrent players graphed in a financial report, but what I can't get over is that the data is from the third party Steamcharts tracker and not Starbreeze's internal figures. Steamcharts can't track anyone playing PAYDAY 2 on console, only PC, and if you're reporting on the financial health of the business, wouldn't you advertise the size of your entire audience, not just those playing on PC?


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