The Embracer Group, which includes THQ Nordic, Koch Media, Saber Interactive and other publishers, has added Borderlands creator Gearbox to the group along with Aspyr Media, a company that specialises in Mac, Linux and mobile ports, and Easybrain, a mobile game developer with a core focus on advertising-based puzzle and logic games.
The deal with Gearbox is valued at $1.3 billion and they will become Embracer Group’s seventh operating group. Gearbox Founder and CEO Randy Pitchford will continue to lead Gearbox, and he and the employees of Gearbox will jointly become “a significant shareholder in Embracer.” That sounds like a good deal, let’s hope that offer extends to all Gearbox employees and not just senior management.
“Gearbox is arguably one of the most creative and valuable independent developers in the world. We believe that the resources offered by Embracer will position Gearbox for continued significant growth in the years to come” saaid Lars Wingefors, Founder and Group CEO of Embracer Group.
“Lars’s vision of Embracer as an allied partner group committed to fueling and accelerating the ambitions of a series of decentralized, successful entrepreneurial member companies while magnifying the collective value and advantages of diversification across the entire group is the most brilliant strategy and design for short, medium, and long-term success in this industry that I have worked in during 30 years. The feeling at Gearbox is that we are just getting started and this transaction is not merely a stimulant for the talent of our employee-owned company, but a propellent for the exciting future we have planned.” said Randy Pitchford, founder of The Gearbox Entertainment Company.
Update: 2K Games have also issued a comment on the acquisition to clarify how it’s going to affect their relationship with Gearbox and the Borderlands series going forward. To put it simply…. it won’t.
“As the proud publisher of the Borderlands franchise, we are happy for our partners at Gearbox and this exciting new chapter for their organization. The merger does not change 2K’s relationship with Gearbox nor our role as the publisher for the Borderlands IP or any other projects we are currently working on with the studio. We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with this incredibly talented team and delivering many more exciting entertainment experiences to gaming fans around the world.” – 2K Spokesperson
This means Embracer now has 57 internal game development studios spread across 40 countries. Many of these are smaller indie studios united under some of Embracer’s 8 publishing brands, but that’s still an incredible number. Embracer must own hundreds, if not thousands of IP’s in total, THQ Nordic alone has been snapping up old, seemingly dead IPs for many, many years. They recently snapped up Little Nightmares creators Tarsier Studios.