Embracer CEO Says There Will Be a Few More Cases of Studio Closures, EGS Is Good to Keep Steam on Their Toes
Today, the Embracer Group hosted its annual general meeting with investors for the current fiscal year. Chief Executive Officer Lars Wingefors commented on the ongoing restructuring process that brought about the closure of Volition and Campfire Cabal, as well as other minor layoffs at other studios owned by Embracer.
It’s tough from many standpoints, obviously, but we are determined to deliver on this. Preferably we would like to find new opportunities for the employees, even if it’s outside of Embracer Group potentially. Sometimes it’ll be a divestment, or that we are working with partners to finance some projects. But ultimately we are making decisions to either restructure or to downsize some teams and there will be a few cases of closures. We are confident to deliver on the target set out for the end of the fiscal year.
In a follow-up question on divestments, Wingefors admitted there are many parties potentially interested in Embracer assets, though it’s far easier to sell the bigger ones. Indeed, recent rumors point to the potential sale of Gearbox Software.
There is a strong, vibrant market with many, many active players – both financial sponsors and big industry players – but it’s easier to run proper processes for, I would say, more high-value assets than smaller assets.
The Embracer CEO was also asked his opinion on the newly announced Epic First Run program, where publishers can commit their games as Epic Games Store exclusives for six months and waive all fees during that timeframe. Wingefors said Epic’s efforts increase competitiveness with Steam, though he understands that users may want to pick their platform instead.
I think it’s good for competition with Steam because it keeps them on their toes to deliver the best experience. Obviously, we would like to pay less fees to platforms. In reality, we are paying more fees to platforms than we spend on game development every year. If you just think about that number, it’s crazy. So, there are margins with the platforms that I would preferably have within building more games and some more margins, but I think it’s great that Epic is there trying to build a competitive platform.
At the same time, consumers are perhaps looking at things differently. They want to be able to pick their platform, so there are many different perspectives to that, and I don’t want to go too deeply into that, but I think competition in general is great.
Dead Island 2 launched this year as an Epic Games Store exclusive. Given these even more favorable terms, it’s a fair guess to imagine more games made by Embracer studios to partake in the Epic First Run program.
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