Overkill's The Walking Dead Sales Lower Than Expected, But Not Everywhere

The game is doing well in China and Russia, and that's hurting the game's overall revenue profile.

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Overkill's The Walking Dead, a co-op shooter from the developers of the Payday franchise, is not off to the best start everywhere. The PC edition launched this month, and initial revenue from game sales were "lower than expected," Sebastian Ahlskog, the CFO of publisher Starbreeze, said in a press release.

Starbreeze has not clarified a specific unit sales figure for Overkill's The Walking Dead. In an investor Q&A, the publisher pointed out that the game is in the Top 10 lists on Steam in terms of sales and wish lists.

Starbreeze said overall revenue so far for Overkill's The Walking Dead is lower than expected because the game is doing especially well in China and Russia, where the game is less expensive relative to other parts of the world.

"Initial sales revenues from Overkill's The Walking Dead are lower than forecasted, primarily because the share of sales in low-price countries, such as China and Russia, is significantly higher than expected," the company explained.

"This is disappointing, of course, but we have a base to work with in regards to the number of games sold," Starbreeze chairman Michael Hjorth said. "We have a pulse of concurrent players, which is essential to future performance within the framework of our Games as a Service concept. The team is working at full capacity to deliver improvements to the game and new content, and Season 2 will be starting soon."

In a second statement, Starbreeze said Overkill's The Walking Dead is "off for a good start," though it is too soon to say if the game is a "hit or a miss." As mentioned, Overkill's The Walking Dead uses the same games-as-a-service model that Payday 2 currently uses where new content is rolled out on an ongoing basis.

Payday 2 has a relatively large player base, and it appears Starbreeze does not want the games to cannibalise each other.

"It has been important for us to let Payday be Payday, especially considering the latest Crimefest campaign that just played out," the company said. "We see many players already cross over but will continuously look at how we can make sure to retain and incentivise our older community to look at our newer titles."

Overkill's The Walking Dead is also coming to PS4 and Xbox One, but it's been delayed to February. As a result of this, Starbreeze will not be able to recognise the $10 million license fee this quarter that 505 Games is paying Starbreeze for the console edition, which it is publishing.

In the wake of these financial challenges, Starbreeze is launching an internal review of its business operations with the aim of reducing costs and focusing more on the core pillars of its business. Starbreeze said it's expecting to see "significant cost savings" as a result of the re-focus. However, Starbreeze shared no specifics on how it would go about cutting costs, or if this move would result in any job losses.

"We have initiated a review of our costs to ensure better alignment with our revenues. We are designing a program towards that end, naturally while keeping a careful eye on revenue development. We must focus on our core business and ensure delivery of the company’s important games," Ahlskog said.

GameSpot's review of Overkill's The Walking Dead scored the zombie shooter a 3/10. It's getting mostly low review scores across the board.

"From its restrictive mission structures, unbalanced difficulty and frustrating means of progression, The Walking Dead struggles to justify the time it requires from you," Alessandro Barbosa wrote. "It's a collection gameplay blueprints stacked upon one another without thoughtful consideration on how they might cohesively work together, wrapped up in a dull presentation and mundane combat that very rarely excites. The Walking Dead is a mess of scattered ideas and a lack of direction, and there's no reason to make sense of it all."

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