SteamWorld Build Didn’t Meet Expectations; Publisher Headup For Sale

A publisher named Headup is for Sale after SteamWorld Build Didn't Meet Expectations
Steamworld Build Logo With Miners Around
Image: Thunderful Group

Thunderful, the company responsible for the well-known SteamWorld series, has bad news. The company disclosed that its latest game, SteamWorld Build, did not meet sales expectations. This announcement coincides with plans to restructure the company, which may involve layoffs and the potential sale of the recently acquired publisher, Headup.

In July 2023, SteamWorld Build, a city-building game, was released as the first new entry in the franchise since 2019. However, Thunderful CEO Martin Walfisz noted in the fiscal report (thanks, Gamedeveloper) for the year ended December 2023 that sales “fell slightly short of our expectations.” He attributed this to the game not resonating well with the SteamWorld target audience and the traditional strength of the franchise on the Switch console.

“We believe this is because the genre of this game has not really appealed to our most dedicated target audience and it has not been well-suited to the Switch console, which has traditionally been a key platform for SteamWorld games.”

Martin Walfisz

Furthermore, the development of another SteamWorld title, SteamWorld Headhunter, has been paused. No reason was given for this decision.

Beyond the performance of individual titles, Thunderful is currently undergoing significant internal changes. The company is implementing a restructuring plan that could lead to a 20% reduction in its workforce. This move is aimed at improving profitability and addressing “past over-investments.” One such investment was the 2021 acquisition of German publisher Headup for $13.3 million. Thunderful has now disclosed that they are considering selling Headup, indicating a potential shift in their acquisition strategy.

It is yet to be determined how these changes will affect Thunderful and the future of the SteamWorld franchise. However, the lower-than-expected performance of SteamWorld Build and the restructuring plans emphasize the company’s difficulties as it adapts to the changing gaming landscape.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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