Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren ousted by board following Payday 3 flop

  • Maria Bianchi
  • Mar-12-2024
Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren ousted by board following Payday 3 flop

Tobias Sjögren was recently ousted from his position as CEO of Starbreeze, a game development company, after a board decision highlighted the need for new leadership to properly implement the studio's strategic vision. This change comes on the heels of the poorly received launch of Payday 3, which has failed to garner a substantial player base.

Starbreeze's board has entrusted Juergen Goeldner, a seasoned industry veteran with over four decades of experience and a member of the board himself since 2023, to temporarily lead the studio. Goeldner's interim leadership is seen as a strong move, aimed at steering the company back on course, according to Torgny Hellström, the chairman of Starbreeze. Hellström emphasized the studio's dedication to creating appealing games based on both original and licensed intellectual properties (IPs) but acknowledged that achieving this goal would require a redirected effort at the helm.

Sjögren, who first stepped in as interim CEO in 2020, played a crucial role in Starbreeze's recovery from a dire financial situation. Upon assuming a permanent role in 2021, he set his sights on Payday 3 as a potential major source of income for the studio. However, the game's launch failed to make a significant impact, leaving the developer struggling to draw players away from its predecessor, Payday 2.

Despite the studio's recognition of Payday 3's disappointing player engagement earlier this year, and their commitment to improving the situation, the game's popularity has not seen a significant uptick. Current data reveals a stark contrast in player numbers between Payday 3 and Payday 2 on the Steam platform.

Goeldner, expressing his commitment upon taking the role of interim CEO, shared his optimism about leveraging the company's strengths to enhance its IP portfolio and monetization strategies. Starbreeze is also developing a game based on the Dungeons and Dragons universe, with an anticipated release in 2026, signaling the company's ongoing efforts to expand and revitalize its game offerings.