Embracer boss admits “long list” of things he’d have done differently, as embattled company splits into three

Embracer boss admits “long list” of things he’d have done differently, as embattled company splits into three

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“It’s easy to look back in hindsight.”

The Embracer Group logo on a red background.

Image credit: Embracer

The boss of embattled video games publisher Embracer has reflected on a turbulent year for his company which has seen it shed thousands of jobs, shutter numerous development studios, and now – as of this week – ultimately split into three smaller parts.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Embracer CEO said there was a “long list” of things he’d do differently, but that was “easy to look back in hindsight”.

“I’m sure I deserve a lot of criticism, but I don’t think my team or companies deserve all the criticism,” Wingefors said. “I could take a lot of that blame myself. But ultimately I need to believe in the mission we set out and that is still valid, and we are now enabling that by doing this [new three-part company] structure.”

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Embracer embarked on its major company restructure following the collapse of a $2bn deal with the Saudi-backed Savvy Games Group. It was a deal which was expected to secure the company’s future – at least in the short term – but Wingefors admitted that Embracer’s rapid growth was fuelled by the peaks of video game market expansion during the Covid lockdown era.

“In every given moment, you are making decisions you believe are right,” Wingefors said. “When we were at the peak of 2020, 2021, we made all those decisions to acquire or organically set up or invest… and everyone was backing that. I firmly believed in that.

“The outcome, because it takes a number of years to make games, is different and it’s painful and we need to adapt to it.”

Wingefors confirmed it was the €2.75bn acquisition of board game publisher Asmodee in 2021 that put Embracer into debt – something that “has been painful”, he said. “I think it’s too early to say what’s right or wrong in this.”

Embracer announced this week that it would divide itself into three different entities: Middle-earth Enterprises and Friends, Coffee Stain and Friends, and Asmodee Group. Each will be run as a separate force, coalesced around big-budget, indie and tabletop games, respectively. The move looks to be a final act of recovery – and rebranding – following the sales of Saber Interactive and Borderlands developer Gearbox.

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