Microsoft, Epic, Netflix: the madness of buying video games continues

The last few years have seemingly been a race in the video game industry to see how many smaller companies can be taken over by bigger ones.

Microsoft (MSFT) – Get the Microsoft Corporation report upcoming deal to buy Activision Blizzard (ATVI) – Get the Activision Blizzard, Inc. report. is one of the best known, but dozens of others are bought and sold in the background.

by Netflix (NFLX) – Get the report from Netflix, Inc. The purchases of previously independent development studios Night School, Boss Fight Entertainment and Next Games are another example of a large company seeking a foothold in the $198.40 billion video game industry.

All three were acquired by Netflix within six months as part of an aggressive development plan by Netflix Games, which promises to release 50 mobile games by the end of 2022.

Epic Games, the creators of the hugely popular “Fortnite” video game, have also acquired Harmonix in 2021, the developer behind groundbreaking music games like “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero.” Epic has more buying power than ever since the launch of “Fortnite”, which made over $9 billion for the company in its first two years after its release.

Now another big buy has been announced which will transfer many beloved games into the hands of a new company, but will also give its former owner the chance to focus on new arenas that he deems important to his future growth.

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Which video game company was sold this time?

Square-Enix (SQNNY) – Get the report from Square Enix Holdings Co. Ltd.a video game publisher with a long history in the industry and best known for its “Final Fantasy” cash cow franchise, has decided to sell several studios in its Western development arm to Swedish company Embracer for $300 million .

The studios concerned are Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix Montreal. These three studios are known for several successful video game franchises, including the “Tomb Raider” series that dates back to 1996, as well as “Deus Ex”, “Legacy of Kain” and “Thief”.

Embracer already has 119 studios and 850 video game franchisesmany of which have been purchased in the past two years.

Square Enix official announcement mentions that the sale will allow him to focus on new investments, including blockchain, AI and cloud.

This ties in with Square Enix’s interest in this sector in the past. President Yosuke Matsuda said that In an interview with Yahoo Japan from April 15 that focusing on traditional games “wouldn’t be enough” for the company moving forward, and that it planned to explore these new areas.

Matsuda also touched on the topic in a New Year’s letter to staffexplaining that blockchain allows video games to take on a new form where the player helps define the gaming experience.

“Whether single-player games or online games, games traditionally involve a one-way flow in which creators like us deliver a game to consumers who play it,” Matsuda wrote. “In contrast, blockchain games, which have emerged from their infancy and are now entering a growth phase, are built on the premise of a token economy and therefore have the potential to enable autonomous game growth.”

Video game industry voices and fans have taken to Twitter to make it clear how much they dislike this new direction, giving more fuel to a general aversion to crypto, blockchain and NFTs of the community as well as a general consensus that Square Enix was making a mistake.


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Carolyn M. Daniel