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Embracer Group buying Perfect World, Dark Horse Comics, and even more companies

The consolidation of the games industry continues

Embracer Group are continuining to do their part in attempts to merge the entire video games industry into one megacorp, this week announcing another five intended acquisitions. Among these are Perfect World, the publishers of Star Trek Online and Torchlight, and the studio behind Scribblenauts Showdown, Shiver Entertainment. They're also going transmedia, buying comics and TV company Dark Horse as well as an animation company and a video-on-demand network. Now they just need to get into food and housing, then our dystopian dreams of one corp owning our entire lives can come true.

So! On Tuesday, Embracer Group announced that they have acquired Shiver Entertainment and Spotfilm Networx, and entered into agreements to buy Dark Horse Media, Perfect World Entertainment, and animation studio DIGIC.

Of the video game purchases, Perfect World are the biggest. Embracer aren't buying the Chinese parent company, rather Perfect World Entertainment, the North American and European arms which include Perfect World Publishing and Cryptic Studios. Cryptic make the free-to-play games Champions Online, Neverwinter, and Star Trek Online, though their latest was a disaster. Based on the enduring card game, Magic: Legends launched into open beta in March 2021 then shut down in October. PWE also publish games including Torchlight and Remnant: From The Ashes. In the Embracer corporate megastructure, they'll fall into Gearbox's division.

Cover image for YouTube videoStar Trek Online: Reflections Launch Trailer

Perhaps the most interesting, though, is the impending acquisition of Dark Horse. They started as a comics company, publishing series including Hellboy, Sin City, and Umbrella Academy, and loads of licensed series based on Mass Effect, Halo, Star Wars, Alien, Predator, Stranger Things, Critical Role, Buffy, and more. They also have a production company which adaptations including The Mask, the Hellboy films, and Netflix's Umbrella Academy. Plus they run a few actual physical shops. They'll become their own distinct operating group within Embracer, one of ten divisions.

"With a structure and proven ability to produce IP, partner with top creative talent, and create brands and global hits, Dark Horse is in a strong position in a market where entertainment content is in high demand," Embracer say.

They add that "there is untapped potential in creating games based on Dark Horse IP and substantial opportunity for synergies within the Embracer group, both within the Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse Entertainment."

The (Avengers) endgame of a media megacorp, after all, is to endlessly remix everything they own with everything else they own in every possible form for all eternity.

Embracer announced earlier this month that they're also working to acquire Asmodee. They're a distributor and publisher of board games and trading cards, as well as digital adaptations thereof. These include big names like Catan, Ticket To Ride, and Pandemic.

The name Embracer might not be widely known but their individual parts are, and they're approaching the size of companies like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard. They currently own 86 game development studios, with over 9000 workers across more than 40 companies. Big names include Gearbox, 3D Realms, 4A Games, Piranha Bytes, THQ Nordic, Deep Silver, Volition, Coffee Stain, and Flying Wild Hog. The consolidation of the games industry continues apace.

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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.