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Video game industry takeover fever: 2022 was one of giant buys and a few disappointments – Konami Group (OTC: KNAMF), Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI)

Written by Flor Orsetti

which year Sony Group Corporation Sony Buyer bungee, Microsoft Corporation MSFT I have got Activision Blizzard Inc ATVI and giant Embracer Group THQQF It has taken over more than 5 companies, including IPs like “The Lord of The Rings,” and it’s finally coming to an end.

During the first nine months of 2022, 976 purchases were announced or closed in the gaming sector around the world, According to the latest report by investment and technology bank Drake Star.

The numbers are in the millions, but what’s the big picture?

It’s not all roses in the gaming industry.

Swedish publisher Embracer Group AB (which has acquired Tripware Interactive, Eidos Montreal, and Crystal Dynaics, among others this year) recently announced the closure of Onoma, a Montreal-based video game studio that no one might know but is basically Square Enix Montreal.

This team is best known for creating the “Go” series of mobile games, with titles such as “Hitman Go”. However, the company recently announced to its employees that several employees will be transferred to a dual studio called Eidos Montreal and that another 200 employees will be fired.

The conclusion comes as a shock and as something unusual (even scary), especially because of the moment in which it occurs. Onoma was purchased in May; On the 10th of October, a new name and brand was announced. A few weeks after that, Embracer decided to shut it down.

Embracer, which is headquartered in Sweden, has been focused on buying large and small companies from the video game sector for the past few years. And while the Onoma news is disheartening, the entire forecast is not.

In addition to the aforementioned, one of the notable acquisitions is the Argentine studio Nimble Giant in 2020, which has only grown since then and managed to expand to the point of opening offices in Spain and other Latin American countries.

On the other hand, Eidos Montreal, the remaining studio, is still intact but has faced some budget adjustments. The closure of Onoma and these budget cuts are clear examples of how Embracer is striving to cut costs. Eidos Montreal scaled back an unannounced project and closed another. What remains in effect is their role as co-developer, as the company is expected to work with Microsoft on developing some games, including one of the “Fable” franchises, which is run by British company Playground Games.

Obviously, news like that of Onoma makes characters like Hideo Kojima make explicit statements on the subject: “As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll accept these offers.”

On the latest episode of the “Brain Structure Podcast,” the Japanese creator confirmed that Kojima Productions is and will remain an independent studio.

He said, “We have absolutely no affiliation and are not endorsed by anyone.” Kojima revealed that he received buyout offers for the studio, but was very forthcoming with the fact that he set up Kojima Productions to “work on what he wanted to do.” As might be expected for a studio run by a creative giant like himself, some of the offers he’s received are ridiculously expensive.

It’s very likely that Kojima is referring to creative freedom (when he claims he’s going to do whatever he wants to do), especially after all that’s happened with Konami Group Corporation cnmphwhich not only canceled “Silent Hills”, but also removed the classic “A Hideo Kojima Game” from the cover of “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.”

However, it is also true that many of these acquisitions mean a loss of identity for the studios, either because they have been absorbed by other companies (such as the case of Onoma and Eidos), or because they have shut down altogether. Not to mention it in other cases as with Netflix NFLXHowever, the market capitalization is the obvious strategic approach rather than the creative aspect that Kojima advocates most with his composed vision.

Netflix has acquired 6 studios so far this year (the most recent being Spry Fox, just a few days ago). It’s an unstoppable marathon and it’s part of his strategy to exploit the mobile gaming market as much as possible because it’s the fastest growing segment in the video game world.

The company started publishing mobile games in November 2021, and already has more than 30 games available on iOS and Android.

2022 was by far the year of acquisitions in the video game industry, with deals worth over $123 billion. The numbers speak for themselves and we still have more than a month to go. For these giants, that’s a lot of time to keep closing deals. However, the benefits of these boosters remain elusive.

The remaining question is: Which video game studio will be bought next? Whatever the answer, we hope for more successful cases and fewer Onoma scenarios in the future.