Annual Report 2021

Stepping up

for the next level

This is Starbreeze

Video games and beyond

Starbreeze is great at developing long-term, strong game brands, known as IPs, with key characters that generate revenue over time through a large, engaged community.


  • Owns one of the strongest brands in the games industry – PAYDAY

  • Has the industry’s largest community on Steam – 7.9 million members

  • Focuses on its core business of developing great games for PC and console

  • Proven track record in developing long-term value for its games

  • Experienced management team and a growing, international game development organization

  • Stable financial foundation and positive cash flow from PAYDAY 2

employees in four countries

The year in brief

Key milestones reached and PAYDAY 3 in full production


  • Entered into a global co-publishing agreement with leading European publishing partner Koch Media. The agreement covers the development and marketing of PAYDAY 3

  • Signed a licensing agreement with PopReach Corporation for PAYDAY Crime War, the mobile version of PAYDAY 2. Starbreeze will be paid royalties based on future sales and received a one-time payment in connection with the transfer of the source code

  • Launched the company’s new player services portal under the working name Starbreeze Accounts

  • The PAYDAY community on Steam grew to nearly 8 million, with over 800,000 new members

  • Released the first 3 chapters of PAYDAY 2: City of Gold, and a total of 9 DLC add-on packs

  • The development of PAYDAY 3 has continued according to plan, with a number of key recruitments
CEO comment

Good progression on Starbreeze’s exciting journey

Starbreeze has a solid foundation. We have one of the strongest brands in the games industry, we are focused on our core business of developing games for PC and console, and we have a clear and ambitious strategy to become an even bigger developer and publisher of successful games in the long term.

The PAYDAY brand

PAYDAY, our flagship for the last 10 years

Since Starbreeze was founded in 1998, the company has grown and developed into a globally respected developer and publisher of computer and video games. The main business is based in Stockholm and is driven largely by the successful PAYDAY brand, which celebrated ten years as successful IP in 2021 with a customer base that keeps on growing. Through the creation of interesting content and engaging experiences, the PAYDAY story continues.

At its peak, PAYDAY 2 had

unique users per month in 2021

Our community

A big community creates opportunities

A key factor in PAYDAY’s success is the involvement of players in
the product, which includes maintaining a close dialogue
between developers and fans.

Steam players

“PAYDAY really is a community-driven game”

Red Archer (troy xxxx), YouTuber and Payday partner


A strong culture that builds new successes

In order to take the next big step in Starbreeze’s development, it is important that the business is permeated by strong and shared values that will contribute to the continued success of the company’s game development and to Starbreeze being perceived as an attractive employer in the industry.

Starbreeze – an equal universe

Starbreeze works continuously to monitor and improve gender equality among employees. There are three fundamental goals for Starbreeze’s gender equality work:


  • All employees’ skills must be nurtured and utilized

  • All employees must be given equal pay, working conditions and opportunities for advancement

  • All employees must be given equal opportunities to combine work and family life

The place to be

Starbreeze is a place for people to progress and feel that they are making a difference, and be rewarded for it. Salaries are set individually, taking into account the nature and complexity of the job and the qualifications and performance of the employees. Starbreeze offers:


  • Smarter Together

  • Enabling creativity

  • Learn & Develop

  • Accountability

nations are represented in the Starbreeze team

“Everyday I look forward to new ways to work and think”

Rika Lim, lead level designer at Starbreeze

The journey continues

Create value beyond the gaming experience

PAYDAY’s journey as an entertainment brand has only just begun. Building on PAYDAY 3, Starbreeze’s strategy for future growth is to develop games that create value and revenue streams beyond the gaming experience.

The four pillars for success

To deliver value to both players and shareholders in the short and long term, Starbreeze is guided by four strategic pillars.

Developing games, IP and beyond
We never compromise on our core focus: action-packed, long-lasting gaming experiences for passionate players. Our skilled teams create characters and storylines that take our brands beyond the games to create new experiences, customer environments and revenues.

A co-creating community
The most powerful tool for creating an engaged community is providing opportunities for people to participate in developing their own content. From mods to streamed game sessions, if a customer has spent time creating content for your product, the relationship is cemented for a long time to come.

The place to be
Starbreeze wants to be the best studio to work at for game developers from all over the world. We believe that a culture where we work as a team, and where all employees have the opportunity to evolve, builds the best gaming experiences.

Games as a Service
Creating games that deliver value over time is about so much more than DLCs and add-on purchases. Starbreeze has been at the forefront of GaaS since PAYDAY 2 was released in 2013. We are committed to continuing to foster the development of long-term relationships with our customers – for both PAYDAY and new brands.

A solid foundation to deliver and grow

Throughout 2021, Starbreeze took several important steps to ensure the successful development of PAYDAY 3, while adding further value to its growing and committed player base.

Our focus for the coming year will be on the release and further development of PAYDAY 3. In parallel, activities are underway to grow our IP portfolio and take advantage of the opportunities created by PAYDAY and other brands beyond the gaming medium.


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