How Embracer Group is becoming the third major publisher in “Acquisition War” with the addition of Crystal Dynamics and Eidos

How does Embracer Group’s latest acquisition affect the ongoing ‘Acquisition War” (Image by Sportskeeda)
How does Embracer Group’s latest acquisition affect the ongoing ‘Acquisition War” (Image by Sportskeeda)

Embracer Group, a Swedish video game and media holding company, has announced plans to acquire the majority of Square Enix’s Western studios and IPs. This not only includes studios like Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, but also their video game franchises, including Deus Ex, Thief, Legacy of Kain, and Tomb Raider.

Embracer Group’s acquisition came as a surprise but was widely accepted as a step towards a better future for the iconic franchises. Over the years, many fans have felt that since 2009's Eidos acquisition, iconic franchises like Tomb Raider and Deus Ex have lacked the proper support from the publisher. They believe the franchises gained fame due to the studio’s efforts in delivering quality titles.

Originally known as THQ Nordic, Embracer Group has been going through an acquisition spree since its restructuring back in 2019. In this short period, the company has acquired many talented studios, including Saber Interactive and Gearbox Software. The Square Enix Europe division is the latest acquisition, with the total purchase price amounting to $300 million.

Crystal Dynamics, Eidos, and Square Enix Montreal are the latest studios to join Embracer Group

Square Enix acquired Eidos and all of its subsidiaries, including Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and IO Interactive. Ever since that acquisition, the consistency in game quality has been on a downward trajectory.

While the studios delivered on titles like the Tomb Raider Survivor Trilogy and the Deus Ex Duology, Square Enix failed to market them properly. This led to less than expected sales and failure to meet internal targets.

IO Interactive is known for its amazing Hitman titles. Absolution diverted totally from the formula to become a narrative-driven title, and Hitman (2016) failed due to its weird launch strategy. However, the studio has been developing amazing titles ever since its separation from Square Enix.

All in all, fans are excited for Crystal Dynamics, Eidos, and Square Enix Montreal to join Embracer Group and get proper support from the publisher to develop amazing titles.

Crystal Dynamics is not only developing a new Tomb Raider on Unreal Engine 5, but rumors suggest that Eidos might also be developing a new Deus Ex on the engine.

How does Embracer Group’s latest acquisition affect the ongoing 'Acquisition War'?

The gaming industry is currently going through a phase best described as the Acquisition War.

Xbox has been turning a new page under the leadership of Phil Spencer, acquiring amazing studios like Ninja Theory, Double Fine, and Playground Games. However, the Acquisition War truly started to heat up after the astronomical purchase of Zenimax, the parent company of Bethesda Interactive.

While companies like Take-Two have acquired Zynga, the majority of the acquisition has been made by Microsoft, the parent company of Xbox, and Sony, the parent company of PlayStation.

PlayStation acquired studios like Haven, Firesprite, and Nixxes, but nothing was as substantial as Bungie, the original creator behind Destiny and Halo.

The biggest acquisition to come during this period is that of Activision Blizzard, which is set to close in 2023 for $70 billion.

However, Embracer Group has been acquiring new studios and IPs even more than PlayStation or Xbox, to some extent.

Over the last four years, Embracer Group has acquired major studios and publishers, including Koch Media, Coffee Stain Holding, Saber Interactive, and Gearbox Software. The company currently has nearly 80 internal studios across almost 50 countries.

For the longest time, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos were rumored to have been acquired by Xbox due to their ongoing partnership. However, Xbox currently seems to be occupied with the Activision merger.

Aside from Crystal Dynamics and Eidos, major publishers such as Ubisoft and WB Games are rumored to be in a position for acquisition.

It is unknown how the industry will look a few years down the line. Which publisher will own which studios and which IP is anybody’s guess. However, one thing is for certain, the industry is going through a rapid change.