With Gearbox, Deep Silver and more under its wings, Embracer Group can rival PlayStation and Xbox in the future

Embracer Group has acquired a host of European gaming studios (Images via THQ Nordic, Gearbox, Deep Silver)
Embracer Group has acquired a host of European gaming studios (Images via THQ Nordic, Gearbox, Deep Silver)

Embracer Group is not a name that many fans will utter in their mouths regarding gaming acquisitions. Xbox and PlayStation are the two names that are most often discussed with their respective Activision Blizzard and Bungie deals in the making. Yet, it's the relatively lesser-known Swedish company that has acquired a slew of European studios in the last couple of years. The company will continue its expansion drive, which could make it an actual potential competitor for the two console giants.

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Embracer Group established itself in 2011 as a video and board games holding company. Its parent company is Nordic Games, and since its inception, it has established itself as a force to be reckoned with. Since the beginning of its journey, Embracer has acquired several studios, including some of famous ones such as Gearbox. As things stand, the company will continue to expand according to its goals.


Embracer Group has the potential to rise as the one of the biggest competitor in the world of gaming

When Microsoft announced a potential acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it sent shockwaves into the industry. After all, the scale of the deal is quite massive and unimaginable to an extent. Sony responded soon, when it announced its potential takeover of Bungie. The two deals also brought attention towards Embracer Group's activities.

Since 2020, the company has invested $8.1 billion across 62 acquisitions. Its current market valuation sits at $9.9 billion, and it has close to 115 independent studios under its belt, which operate as part of 10 operating groups.


What makes the Embracer Group a strong player?

Embracer Group might have seemed like a lightweight compared to the magnitude of other deals. However, the assumption couldn't have been any further from reality as the company's vision is quite clear.

In an interview with the Financial Times, CEO Lars Wingefors clearly stated his vision for the company moving forward. The company plans to continue the acquisitions and move to the field of free-to-play titles across Europe and the US.

The free-to-play market has a lot of potential, especially when one considers the live-service models. Even giants like PlayStation have declared their plans to venture into the live-service space in recent times. While the model can sometimes be controversial, it's profitable as far as publishers are concerned.

Some of the acquisitions that Embracer has made seem like bargains on paper. It acquired Gearbox for less than $1.5 billion, and the studio is going through a fruitful phase with Tiny Tina's Wonderlands. It also has the likes of Saber Interactive under its belt, which has associations with games like Witcher 3 and World War Z.

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Another factor that makes the Embracer Group quite potent is the diversity in its portfolio. It's not just video games that the group is focusing on, as its most recent acquisition has been Asmodee, a French board game company. It has also acquired Dark Horse comics, which is considered a giant in its forte.

Lars has also emphasized the importance of decentralized decision-making and investing in multiple variables.

“Looking at other companies, they’ve struggled when they put too many layers of directors and management and start controlling creators, that’s when they start falling apart.”

The decision to make multiple games simultaneously and under different studios is due to risk management and success factors. The CEO also said:

"If you can make one game, you have a big business risk but if you make 200 games, like we do, the business risk is less."
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Compared to the two console giants, Embracer Group is a smaller player for the time being. However, it has quickly acquired some successful game developers like Gearbox, THQ Nordic, and Deep Silver, among others.

If the company makes a shift to free-to-play gaming and can be equally successful, the future of gaming could be a lot more than a PlayStation vs. Xbox battle.

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