Embracer Group Acquires Three of Square Enix’s Western Studios

If you’ve been keeping track of industry mergers, sales and the like, you’ll already know that Embracer Group’s series of studio and company acquisitions is one seemingly without end. Having snapped up a respectable amount of studios both in and out the AA space over the past few years. But today’s news may well be the most bizarre, not so much as to the acquisition itself, but more so with whom appears to be willing to sell. Indeed, if the title hasn’t already given it away, Embracer Group today announced in the early morning hours, they’ve entered into an agreement to acquire three of Square Enix’s western-based studios: Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal. Transferring control of well-known IP’s like Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Thief and Legacy of Kain, on top of more than 50 titles formerly in Square Enix’s back catalogue, into Embracer Group’s hands.

The sale — which covers more than 1,100 employees spanning eight individual locations — amounts to $300 million cost. Which, on its own, is certainly a lot but given the legacy of each of these developer’s alone, certainly gives the impression that Embracer have snagged all three developers at a bit of a bargain. Eidos Montreal for one, having recently put out the acclaimed (and surprisingly well-done) Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy last year. But as if that news alone wasn’t note-worthy, it’s Square’s own reasoning for doing so that stands out on its own. Speaking on the sale, they explain that “the transaction enables the launch of new businesses by moving forward with investments in fields including blockchain, AI, and the cloud.”

This comes only weeks after Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda himself expressed interest in the company venturing further into the precarious field of “play to earn” blockchain titles, on top of continuing to invest in the field of NFTs as explained in his New Year’s letter at the start of the year. While fans of Eidos, Crystal and Montreal may not have much to worry about in so far as those studios continuing to work on new projects — Crystal Dynamics for one, have already confirmed a new Tomb Raider is in the work — the question now is where does this leave Square Enix. Not just in terms of their portfolio of games, but public perception too on where their priorities lay amid the video game sphere?