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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

SQUARE ENIX Divests Crystal Dynamics and Eidos and some IP to the "Embracer Group"

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There are some odd conceptions swirling around I want to clear up!

Yesterday, SQUARE ENIX had announced they sold off Crystal Dynamics (USA) and Eidos Interactive (Canada), two of their Western subsidiaries (oh, they also sold Square Enix Montréal also in Canada, but they're not really relevant because they're a small group that makes mobile games), to the Swedish gaming collective Embracer Group AB for a mere 300 million USD. What is the Embracer Group? According to Phil Rogers, Square Enix America and Europe CEO (well, not for much longer!) in a press release, “Embracer is the best kept secret in gaming: a massive, decentralized collection of entrepreneurs whom we are thrilled to become a part of today.” In other words, Embracer seems fully aware in their own press release that they're a secret and no one knows what they are. They are a parent company with over 12,500 employees dedicated to game development across 10 operative groups (and over a hundred internal studios within those)... and all of those numbers will go up with this acquisition.

You might be familiar with companies like Koch Media / Deep Silver (think Saints Row... and I guess they published Mighty No. 9 and that dumb trailer), THQ Nordic (...you can think of a lot of things, like Destroy All Humans), and Gearbox Entertainment (think Borderlands). These are all children of the Embracer Group, which has... embraced them. Yeah. (That's their explanation for the name, not mine.) With so many brands and franchises under the group, they say they give a lot of creative, decentralised freedom to the companies under them, and Embracer funds them. Embracer's studios also do a lot of work-for-hire for other publishers and companies, and they've said that despite their existing large capacity, they are already at capacity and need even more, talented resources that can make AAA content. Seems like a nice problem to have.

SQUARE ENIX has specifically also sold the IPs to Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Hitman, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and other franchises—but they're keeping Just Cause, Outriders, and Life is Strange because SQUARE ENIX still has some remaining overseas studios...? They said that SQUARE ENIX's studios are all the ones in Japan, the Square Enix Collective (which is a Square Enix Europe project) and Square Enix External Studios (also a Square Enix Europe initiative). So while a lot of people North America will move to work for Embracer, there will still be some people in “Square Enix Europe” publishing and working on things with the Western IP that SQUARE ENIX wants to keep around for whatever reason.


All of those words are probably confusing, so here's an image I edited that relies on me knowing Earth's geography; not really my strong suit as someone not from Earth:

SQUARE ENIX GROUP divesting selling Crystal Dynamics Eidos Interactive Canada USA
You can still see stuff in Europe, and SQUARE ENIX Inc, the localisation/publishing arm in America, gets to stick around.


SQUARE ENIX's reasoning for this is to allocate resources more efficiently and use the money to launch “new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.” I'm not really sure why you'd need to sell studios that are already working on cutting-edge artificial intelligence research to invest more in artificial intelligence. You HAVE... now HAD... lots of smart people already working on it! Blockchain? Knock yourself out and have fun, I guess. But I do suppose that they need to either stop doing cloud gaming (best option, but not the option they'll do) or get actually good at it first, because their cloud gaming releases on the Switch are really bad and annoying!

Speaking of which, no one mentioned Marvel in any of these press materials, and yet I see a lot of talk about the Marvel games published by SQUARE ENIX and developed by Eidos and/or Crystal Dynamics: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (which was icky in E3 2021) and Marvel's Avengers (which was icky in E3 2019). I think they're totally done with the Marvel IP: it was always going to be a multi-year, multi-game (non-exclusive) agreement between Marvel and SQUARE ENIX... and multiple games have happened. Still, good riddance and maybe SQUARE ENIX will be more focused on games I care about in their presentations...! Yeah, I know that's a selfish thing of me to write, but... well, the stuff their western studios made never seemed to have met their lofty sales expectations anyway.



What are your thoughts on this sale? Do you think that the quality of the IPs being sold to Embracer Group will actually go UP post-sale than how they were under SQUARE ENIX's reign? Do you wish that Life is Strange was sold with it? Go ahead and comment in KoopaTV's comments section.


Embracer Group went to acquire so many more companies on August 18, 2022.

6 comments :

  1. Okay, after some time, this is a mixed bag due to a few things that popped up in my head. At the same time, I don't like them putting some of their investments into blockchain technology due to the controversy behind NFTs. Such as the whole easy to change image or coding within the links. Or for play to earn stuff that had a major hacking problems.

    I am glad that they didn't shut down the studios and gave to a company that can help them. While also focusing on the investments on their Japanese side. Meaning they're stopping to appease the west after a decade. They'll be going to be doing what they do best.

    And people seem to get the wording of the block chain mixed up and say they're going into it. Including meant that they're adding it with other things. Still dumb. But that include part seems to make plays people over look it.

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    1. Adding on, in also glad they didn't keep the IPs of the studios as well. Since that is what got companies like Eidos and Crystal Dynamic on the map

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    2. Those IPs got Eidos and Crystal Dynamics on the Square Enix map... and now they'll get off the map.
      But yeah, it would be rather iffy to keep the IPs without the teams that built them. I'm fairly convinced that Eidos and Crystal Dynamics will do better with those IPs as part of Embracer than as part of Square Enix, and core SE fans will be happier about the focus.

      As for including blockchain... eh. I'm still waiting for Kamek to write that article about NFTs to try to convince my opinion on it.

      Delete
  2. I never understood the appeal of the Tomb Raider games. I hardly ever actually heard much about them, and what little I did hear indicated that even as technology advanced, their gameplay was glitchy and terribad.

    Not understanding why she was popular anyway, in hindsight, probably should have been a bit of a hint as to my being ace.

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    Replies
    1. I understood why other people would physically like Lara Croft theoretically, though I didn't see any appeal personally...!

      Delete

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