Starbreeze Studios has ascribed to a common trend in the games industry: moving away from traditional singleplayer-only experiences, and pushing towards multiplayer-based games. Why? Money, of course.
The games industry's biggest players have long been embracing the mega-popular FPS and action genres, leading to more casualized "genre-melding" video games that're typically built around online microtransactions. Today's games are less finalized shipped products and more of a continual service: instead of buying a finished game, players buy a kind of starter set that publishers expand with add-ons, microtransactions, and DLC, driving up recurring spending. Publishers like EA and Activision have mastered this approach, and Ubisoft is doing the same with most of its games by incorporating online multiplayer in some way, namely The Division, For Honor, and Rainbow Six: Siege.
Now Payday 2 developer Starbreeze Studios flat-out acknowledges what EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix and Activision have known for a long time: offline singleplayer games just aren't as profitable as multiplayer action/FPS games.
Speaking at the Reboot Develop event, Starbreeze's Almir Listo said the studio is a lot less likely to make games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and more likely to make games like Payday. "You need to find the thing that makes it replayable. One of the problems that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons had for sure was that it's not replayable. It's a beautiful story, but it ends. And as many lovely emails as we've received about that game, it doesn't pay salaries.""Payday, however, because the game is replayable like few other games... it allowed us to continue pushing out content for the game, which allowed us to keep monetising the players who were interested in the game," Listo said. And boy did Starbreeze monetize the Payday series. Payday 2 is notorious for its huge array of in-game content and DLC packs, representing one of the most saturated shooters in the industry.