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Payday 3 was not the hit sequel that Starbreeze Entertainment had hoped for, and the CEO Tobias Sjögren has taken the fall. The studio’s board said their strategy “needs a different leadership”. They made this known in a notice sent to investors and Juergen Goeldner who joined the board in 2023 has been appointed the interim CEO of the Stockholm-headquartered company.

Payday 3 was not the hit sequel that Starbreeze Entertainment had hoped for, and the CEO Tobias Sjögren has taken the fall.

“The company has a clear strategy centered around creating attractive games on our own and licensed IPs,” said Starbreeze chairman Torgny Hellström in a statement. “The board’s consolidated assessment is that the execution of strategy needs a different leadership.”

“Juergen Goeldner has been part of the board since 2023 and, with over 40 years of industry experience, is a strong interim solution.”

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After its launch on September 21, 2023, Payday 3 experienced major server issues which Starbreeze blamed on an external matchmaking software. For days, some players struggled to play the game without success. Making the situation worse was how long fans had to wait for the game’s first update.

When Payday 3 eventually became playable, the reception was mixed. On Metacritic, the game amassed an average of 67 points on Xbox Series X, 66 on PC, and 61 on PS5. The majority of the negative reviews stressed the long waiting time to get matched and how easily the game becomes repetitive.

Payday 3 was not the hit sequel that Starbreeze Entertainment had hoped for, and the CEO Tobias Sjögren has taken the fall.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to thank Tobias Sjögren for his achievements during the past three years,” said Hellström. “Tobias took over the helm of Starbreeze in a challenging phase of its journey and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

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Accepting the new role as the interim CEO, Goeldner said, “Starbreeze has a strong history of developing and publishing games globally. After launching Payday 3, the company is well-positioned to leverage the strengths of the organization to monetize and develop the IP portfolio.”

“I am looking forward to assuming an operative position and, together with the management, ensure the execution of this strategy.”

Payday 2 still outperforms Payday 3 almost by 85%

Payday 3 was not the hit sequel that Starbreeze Entertainment had hoped for, and the CEO Tobias Sjögren has taken the fall.

About 24 hours after launch, Payday 3 attracted 77,938 concurrent players, according to SteamDB. Since then, the peak concurrent player count has continued to fall steadily every month. In February 2024, the highest concurrent player count for Payday 3 was 666, representing a 60.7% decline from the previous month. Some days, the game receives less than 150 concurrent players.

It is important to mention that the data from SteamDB only accounts for gamers playing through Steam and doesn’t account for console players. Nevertheless, it still paints a picture of what players think of the game.

With the 24-hour spike in the number of concurrent players on Steam after launch, it was evident that Payday 3 was on the watch list of many gamers. However, a string of technical issues led to most of the enthusiastic gamers leaving negative reviews on the game.

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Payday 3 was not the hit sequel that Starbreeze Entertainment had hoped for, and the CEO Tobias Sjögren has taken the fall.

The game’s fate and prospects were sealed with every negative review. A few months after the release of Payday 3, Embracer Group said it failed to meet their expectations. During the Q&A session in the company’s second-quarter earnings call back in November, Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors said Payday 3 came in “a bit weaker than expected”.

“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.”

Do you think Payday 2 was better than Payday 3? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.


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