Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren ousted by board following Payday 3 flop

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Tobias Sjögren has been removed from his role as CEO of developer Starbreeze after the company’s board concluded the studio «needs a different leadership» to execute its current business strategy. The announcement follows a disastrous launch for last year’s Payday 3, which is still struggling to attract players in significant numbers.


Starbreeze’s board announced Sjögren’s removal in a note to investors, adding that board member — and former CEO of Focus Home interactive — Juergen Goeldner would be serving as interim CEO as the recruitment process for a permanent replacement gets underway.


«The company has a clear strategy centred around creating attractive games on our own and licensed IPs,» Starbreeze chairman Torgny Hellström said of today’s management changes. «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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Sjögren became Starbreeze’s interim CEO in 2020 — overseeing the studio’s continued revitalisation following severe financial issues and near-collapse — before becoming permanent CEO in 2021. Since then, Starbreeze has been focused on Payday 3 as its next major revenue driver, but a disastrous launch last year failed to entice players away from Payday 2.


In February this year, Starbreeze admitted Payday 3 player activity was «currently at significantly lower levels than [it] would like», but said it had plans to «ensure that the game lives up to expectations». The game’s fortunes have yet to improve, however; Payday 3’s concurrent player count is 287 on Steam versus Payday 2’s 29,167 at the time of writing.


In a statement announcing his appointment as new Starbreeze interim CEO, Juergen Goeldner said, «After launching Payday 3, the company is well-positioned to leverage the strengths of the organisation to monetise and develop the IP portfolio.» Starbreeze is currently working on a Dungeons and Dragons game, expected to release in 2026.

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