Paradox reports significant revenue increase in expansion-heavy Q2 2020

Paradox continues to expand its portfolio beyond grand strategy and the PC platform and seems to be working out great.

Paradox Interactive is one of the most interesting companies to watch as it branches out beyond its grand strategy roots.

In its second quarter of fiscal year 2020, Paradox reports significant gains over the same quarter last year. Revenue increased 30% to SEK 387.2 million ($40.5 million) and operating profit jumped 55% to SEK 154.2 million ($16.1 million).

While the publisher only released one game (Imperator: Rome) during the quarter, its development studios pushed six major expansions during the period. These include BattleTech’s Urban Warfare add-on, the Green Planet expansion for Surviving Mars, and the Ancient Relics story pack for Stellaris.

Once known largely for niche titles like Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV, Paradox has started casting a wider net. The publisher, which purchased World of Darkness’ White Wolf in 2015 (and subsequently needed to rescue the business unit from itself), is releasing a sequel to cult hit Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines in 2020. The company also acquired Shadowrun Returns and BattleTech creator Harebrained Schemes in June 2018. And with a prohibition era tactical mafia sim, Empire of Sin by Romero Games, Paradox is delivering for strategy fans of all skill levels.

The company has also stepped up its console publishing. Surviving Mars, Stellaris, and the newly released Age of Wonder: Planetfall are all thriving on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Empire of Sin will land on Switch as well as Sony and Microsoft’s platforms.

Paradox is also dabbling in the subscription space. The company announced at E3 that three of its titles—Imperator: Rome, Surviving Mars, and Tyranny—were in the opening salvo of Xbox Game Pass for PC lineup.

“It is important for us to continuously test new ways to offer our games to the market and the Xbox Game Pass is an interesting one,” wrote CEO Ebba Ljungerud. “Our main distribution platform continues to be Steam, with another successful Summer Sale capping off the quarter.”

Ljungerud attributes the company’s strong cash flow for the quarter to its relationship with Microsoft for Xbox Game Pass for PC. According to Paradox’s quarterly report, the publisher received an advance payment for its trio of games participating in the subscription service.

Paradox will again hold its annual PDXCon in October. The event, which will take place in Berlin from October 18 through 20, will also showcase the publisher’s foray into tabletop games. At PDXCon last year, the company announced that it had licensed Europa Universalis, Cities: Skylines, Crusader Kings, and Hearts of Iron to four different tabletop publishers. At Gen Con earlier this month, Renegade Games announced it had acquired licensing rights for a new Vampire: The Masquerade expandable card game (presumably similar to Fantasy Flight’s “Living Card Game” format). Instead of blind buy booster packs, new cards are sold in fixed distributions at regular intervals.

Paradox continues to make smart moves in broadening its portfolio and its audience. The company has also become adept at licensing. With smart leveraging of its White Wolf properties especially, Paradox is setting itself up for a strong, diverse future and a slate of games that will extend its reach and welcome new players that wouldn’t have necessarily identified as the publisher’s core audience in the past. 

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Michael Futter is the author of The GameDev Business Handbook, a guide for creating and sustaining an independent video game studio, and The GameDev Budgeting Handbook. He is also the former news editor of Game Informer and has written about business and legal issues and video game industry trends for eight years.

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