The Future of Square Enix Following $300m Studio Sale

In a sudden deal, Square Enix has moved to sell its western studios and several top-tier IPs to Embracer Group. This deal comes with a $300m price tag, with Square Enix claiming that the proceeds will be used to fund investments into blockchain, AI, and cloud-based technology. As a part of this monumental sale, Embracer Group will now own the rights to the likes of Deus Ex, Tomb Raider, Thief, and the Legacy of Kain.

Furthermore, this deal boasts the transfer of ownership of several studios, including Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal. This is a landmark acquisition for the Embracer Group, formerly known as THQ Nordic and Nordic Games, a Swedish firm that has been neck-deep in the industry for more than ten years.

What does this sale mean for the future of Square Enix? In recent weeks, the Japanese firm has been battling backlash over investments in the blockchain, but this deal only furthers those investments.

Square Enix, and The Future

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Image Credit: Wallpaper Abyss

As a result of this sale, Square Enix will part ways with more than fifty iconic titles, and more than 1,000 developers. However, this acquisition will bring $300m into the coffers of Square Enix, and reportedly, that money will be used to finance investments into blockchain technology. In a statement, the CEO of Embracer Group, Lars Wingefors, had nothing but good things to say about the deal:

We are thrilled to welcome these studios into the Embracer Group. We recognize the fantastic IP, world class creative talent, and track record of excellence that have been demonstrated time and again over the past decades. It has been a great pleasure meeting the leadership teams and discussing future plans for how they can realize their ambitions and become a great part of Embracer.

However, on the Square Enix side of things, fans are doubtful that this deal will bring good fortunes to the organisation. In recent weeks, Square Enix has found itself in hot water over the persistence of leadership personnel in finding new ways to introduce blockchain technology into its games. In several statements, the president of Square Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, has responded to concerns by stating that while he knows players dislike NFTs in general, his firm will continue to invest in the growing market.

At the tail end of April, Yuji Naka, the creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, took to the airwaves to throw shade at Square Enix. In a damning statement, he said, “I don’t think Square Enix cares about games.” While this deal means that Square Enix will retain publishing rights on several third-party franchises, such as Just Cause and Life is Strange, games developed in-house will now be extremely thin on the ground.

Bringing in the Blockchain

With the emergence of play-to-earn games and crypto gaming, more developers are trying to find ways to break into these new markets. There’s a strong internal push from Square Enix to ‘double down’ on blockchain integrations, with staff attempting to find ways of fusing its traditional games with developing, digital technology.

Following this deal, Square Enix now has $300m to invest in blockchain, AI, and cloud-based technology. As the organisation seeks to introduce a more immersive ecosystem to its users, there’s no knowing what lies in the future for the firm.

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