Starbreeze's acting CEO reassures investors about the game firm's future

Starbreeze's acting CEO reassures investors about the game firm's future

Acting Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark has told shareholders that the company plans to focus on its core games development and publishing business moving forwards.

In the Swedish firm's full-year fiscal report, Nermark admitted that the last quarter had been "turbulent" for Starbreeze - something of an understatement - and that he remains optimistic about the company emerging from this period.

For other parts of the business, the company will be looking for financial partners. 

"I feel confident about the strategic route we have taken," he wrote. "Going forward, we will focus on the core business: game development and publishing."

He continued: "The company has also commenced the process to find financial partners to finance all or part of [Starbreeze's] future operations.

"We are seeking external collaborative partners to ensure that operations that do not constitute core business develop in a positive manner.

"As the company is under reconstruction, it is naturally difficult to predict the future, but the plan we are devising is aimed at creating stable development of the core business and thus long-term shareholder value. I can guarantee that everyone at the company is doing their utmost to promote the favourite development of Starbreeze."

This follows the company filing for reconstruction after Overkill's The Walking Dead failed to hit commercial targets, with CEO Bo Andersson departing the company. Starbreeze's Stockholm office was raided by Swedish authorities days later.

Former staff speaking to Eurogamer about the company's last few years paint a picture of a company in free fall, with The Walking Dead beset not only by technical issues but also commercial pressures as Starbreeze bet the farm on Overkill's shooter.

Total net sales for the company as a whole in Q4 2018 came in at $8.9m (SEK 82.5m), a dip of 20.5 per cent year-on-year. Starbreeze Games alone brought in $7.1m (SEK 66.3m). The most damning indication of the company's current state is its EBITDA, which clocks a loss of $7.9m (SEK 73.7m) down from last year's profit of just under $681,500 (SEK 6,342,000).

Overkill's The Walking Dead - the game that Starbreeze bet the future of the company on - generated $3.7m (SEK 34.1m).

Meanwhile, the Payday franchise generated $2.2m (SEK 20.4m). During this quarter, Payday 2's concurrent player high was 24,849 users.

Full-year Starbreeze net sales clocked in at $37.6m (SEK 350m); Payday brought in $10.5m (SEK 97.7m).


PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.