Tomb Raider is one of the most popular video game franchises of all time.
Christian Petersen | Getty Images
Its Japanese publisher is selling the popular Tomb Raider franchise Square Enix As part of a $300 million deal.
Square Enix said Monday that it will transfer three of its game development studios – Eidos Interactive, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal – to a Swedish company. Embracer Group.
Embracer will also acquire the intellectual property of Tomb Raider and three other game series, including Deux Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain.
Square Enix said it is selling assets to cut costs amid a challenging global business environment and investing in new technologies such as blockchain.
Square Enix said in a statement announcing the news that the deal “enables the launch of new business by moving forward with investments in areas including blockchain, AI, and cloud.”
The company’s commitment to ramping up spending on blockchain – the technology behind many non-fungible cryptocurrencies and tokens – has led to some negative backlash on social media. One user said the move was “like selling your house for magic pills”.
The player’s audience was usually Skeptical about NFTs Digital assets designed to represent ownership of unique items.
While proponents of this technology say it could unlock new types of gaming experiences, many gamers are not convinced, viewing NFT as environmentally damaging cash grab.
Tomb Raider is one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. The games see players navigate British archaeologist Lara Croft through a series of ancient tombs and dangerous ruins. It has sold over 80 million copies to date.
The Tomb Raider heroine has quickly become a cultural icon, inspiring numerous films and merchandise, while also sparking a debate about over-sexing with female characters in the game industry.
Square Enix, best known for its popular Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts games, took ownership of the Tomb Raider series after purchasing Eidos Interactive in 2009.
It is now set to become the property of Sweden’s Embracer, with the company expecting to approve and finalize the deal by the end of September.
Embracer is not a household name in gaming. Originally set up as a retailer of comic books and games, the company became one of the largest game groups in Europe after capturing a slew of major studios including Gearbox, developer of the Borderlands shooter franchise, and Koch Media.
Game analysts said the deal price for Square Enix’s western assets was surprisingly low, but the company had long been looking for a buyer.
“Square Enix is seeking to offload this part of its business to restructure and focus its investments,” Piers Harding Rolls, head of gaming research at Ampere Analysis, told CNBC.
“You have struggled to achieve consistent commercial success from those studios, and you want to build a smaller organization with a more compelling growth and earnings story for its shareholders.”
Square Enix said it will continue to publish titles from other international franchises, including Just Cause, Outriders and Life is Strange.
“Communicator. Music aficionado. Certified bacon trailblazer. Travel advocate. Subtly charming social media fanatic.”