Embracer Group is at it again, pulling more videogame studios and IP into it’s inescapable embrace! Europe’s biggest videogame and media holding company just announced a slew of purchases. Among these are the rights to everything LOTR related (except for the books themselves). Here is their press release regarding LOTR:
“Embracer Group AB (”Embracer”), through its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode, has entered into an agreement to acquire Middle-earth Enterprises, a division of The Saul Zaentz Company, which owns a vast intellectual property catalogue and worldwide rights to motion pictures, video games, board games, merchandising, theme parks and stage productions relating to the iconic fantasy literary works The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as matching rights in other Middle-earth-related literary works authorized by the Tolkien Estate and HarperCollins, which have yet to be explored.”
With the amount of money that the films and games generate this is an absolute win for them. Embracer Group owns over 200 game franchises and has a vast network of studios under their thumb. This is easily their most high-profile acquisition announced today, but it isn’t the only one. Let’s check out the other three big names they added.
Limited Run Games
The next biggest profile purchase comes with videogame publisher and distributor, Limited Run Games. As for their rationale of buying Limited Run games, this is what EG had to say:
“Limited Run is the global leading brand within its nische/business, a premium publisher of physical games founded in 2015 by Josh Fairhurst (CEO) and Douglas Bogart (COO). The company is based in North Carolina, USA, and employs 69 persons. In an increasingly digital world, Limited Run has become the preferred partner for physical releases and lives by the motto: Forever Physical. Since its inception Limited Run has published over 1,000 digital games to physical release. Partners include niche indie studios as well as major publishers.
Limited Run is well-known for its collector’s editions and operates a direct-to-consumer model with a big loyal audience of collectors. The company evolved its business model with vinyl records and other merchandise, and distributed titles helping other publishers bring physical versions of their games to market through the Limited Run site and retailers.”
Cornering this market is a pretty strategic move for EG. They are absolutely right, LRG has a lot of connections with smaller studios and they have the resources and know-how to publish highly desirable limited-edition bundles. With the back catalog that they already own they can appeal to nostalgic gamers with physical rereleases of Legacy Of Kain and other nostalgic IP. EG is being smart by keeping Fairhurst and Bogart on, but let’s see if they can improve manufacturing turn-around and improve the time for shipping.
Singtrix And TripWire
The next biggest acquisitions from today’s announcement was Singtrix and Tripwire. Singtrix is in the market of developing audio tools in the use of karaoke, games, and audio processing. They have a 25 year history of developing music games and were behind the technology of, arguably, the most famous music game of all: Guitar Hero.
As for Tripwire Interactive, well this is EG’s rationale for purchasing them:
“Founded in 2005 in Roswell, GA, Tripwire has continually developed successful titles, with the Killing Floor series boasting over 35 million players, Rising Storm series over 14 million players and Maneater over 16 million players. Their publishing division, Tripwire Presents, continues to be a major growth area that has strong partnerships with various developers. They recently launched Chivalry 2 which has sold over 2 million units and upcoming titles include Espire 2 (VR) and Deceive Inc. The company has today grown to 113 employees in its Georgia office.”
Those are pretty big games and even though they are not the biggest players around those are some beloved IP under their belt. Interesting to note is that one of the cofounders, John Gibson, became a controversial figure last year and stepped down from his position as Tripwire’s CEO. Gibson famously tweeted about being in favor of Texas’ Anti-Abortion laws last year. EG stated: “Co-Founder John Gibson will be pursuing opportunities outside of Tripwire.”
Now there were other acquisitions included that we didn’t mention here (Tuxedo Labs, Bitwave Games, Gioteck, and Tatsujin). We just wanted to touch on the biggest ones. My stance has always been anti-consolidation. This aggressive move by EG is bad for the industry. When smaller studios get gobbled up they lose autonomy and creative freedom. Tencent, Microsoft, PlayStation, and Embracer Group are out here staking claims and pushing their anti-trust luck. That’s my take on it anyway. I oppose these aggressive actions in the gaming space.
What do you think or feel about these acquisitions? I don’t think that with over 200+ game franchises there is any way we will see all these games being made to their fullest potential. Sound off in the comments! I will read them. For more gaming news, game reviews (like my latest here), and game opinion pieces be sure to follow GeekNewsNow! I’m going to stay geeky, and I know you will too!