Video game Tomb Raider changes hands as franchise seeks funds for blockchain investment

On Monday, Square Enix, the publisher of the iconic video game Tomb Raider said that it was selling three of its game development studios to the Embracer group. Square Enix mentioned global business challenges as well as investments in upcoming technologies including blockchain as the reasons for divesting these popular gaming houses from their portfolio.

Square Enix is selling the following game development studios:
Eidos Interactive
Crystal Dynamics
Square Enix Montreal.

The deal is expected to be approved and finalized latest by end September. After the $300 million deal goes through, the Swedish based Embracer will acquire the intellectual property rights for the following series:
Tomb Raider
Deux Ex
Legacy of Kain.

Square Enix released a statement announcing the deal. It said that the deal would enable the Japanese franchise to invest in deals in fields such as “blockchain, AI and the cloud.”

The statement mentioning investment in blockchain got a few angry retorts from gamers on Twitter including one of whom said that it similar to “selling your house for magic beans.” Non fungible tokens or NFTs are digital assets that represent ownership of unique collectible items using blockchain technology.

Most gamers remain skeptical about NFTs. Those who recommend or promote the technology say that blockchain can unlock new gaming experiences though most gamers consider it to be a cash grab that is environmentally harmful.

Square Enix has popular games such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts. It bought Eidos Interactive in 2009 and acquired the iconic game Tomb Raider. Players have to help British archaeologist Lara Croft navigate through dangerous ruins and old tombs, in the game.

The game has sold about 88 million copies and was made into many movies and also spawned merchandise. Gamers feel that Square Enix has sold the game for a low figure but the franchise has been looking to sell this part of its business—Western games from a long time. The franchise said that publications of its international titles such as Just Cause, Outriders and Life is Strange would continue.

Embracer, which is a huge publishing group, is growing fast as it acquired several gaming companies in 2021. The company said that it would have 124 internal studios, after the deal with Square Enix is closed.

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