Starbreeze tosses out current CEO as Payday 3 continues to struggle – WGB


Six months after the disastrous release of Payday 3, Starbreeze has chosen to oust its CEO of the last 3 years.

Tobias Sjögren became permanent CEO of Starbreeze in March of 2021, having been Interim CEO previously due to former CEO Mikael Nermark resigning for personal reasons, which was later revealed to be cancer.

Tobias Sjögren stepped in at a difficult time for the company. Starbreeze had been struggling financially for several years. In the same month as Tobias Sjögren became the permanent CEO the company announced a deal with Koch Media to help finance the development of Payday 3.

Given the success of Payday 2, a sequel seemed like an obvious homerun for the company and a hopeful end to their financial woes, but when Payday 3 was released 6 months ago it was nothing short of a disaster. Server issues, a lack of content, numerous bugs and glitches, slow updates and more crippled the game. The launch was so bad that Payday 2 saw many players returning to it, looking for their cooperative heist fix.

The situation has not improved much. On Steam, the reviews from the last 30 days are “mostly negative” with players unhappy about the lack of improvements and updates. Some are wondering if Starbreeze has essentially abandoned the game due to Starbreeze’s Project Baxter, a Dungeons & Dragons licensed title announced in December of 2023.

SteamDB shows that Payday 3’s player count continues to drop. Since mid-January, the game hasn’t managed more than 1,000 concurrent players. However, Payday 2 is consistently bringing in 30,000+ concurrent players daily at the moment.

All of this leads us to today when Starbreeze announced that Juergen Goeldner will be taking over as interim CEO moving forward, with a recruitment process being set up to find a new permanent CEO. Goeldner was previously the CEO of Focus Home Interactive.

“The company has a clear strategy centered around creating attractive games on our own and licensed IPs. 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,” says Torgny Hellström, Chairman of Starbreeze.

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

“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,” says Juergen Goeldner, interim CEO of Starbreeze.

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