Embracer Group is reportedly looking to sell off Gearbox Software, the studio most known for its work on the Borderlands franchise. Notably, Gearbox was purchased by Embracer just over two years ago, for US $1.3 billion.
Despite this, both Reuters and Bloomberg report it’s next in line for the chopping block, as Embracer Group continues a year of studio closures, sales, and layoffs, in an effort to consolidate its business and improve its long-term sustainability.
Per an internal email seen by Bloomberg, Gearbox chief communications officer Dan Hewitt has reassured staff that several options are on the table for this potential sale – including taking the business independent.
“The base case is that Gearbox remains a part of Embracer,” Hewitt reportedly told staff. “However, there are many options under consideration, including Gearbox’s transfer, taking Gearbox independent, and others. Ultimately, we’ll move ahead with whichever path is best for both Gearbox and Embracer.”
At this stage, it does not appear Gearbox will shut – unlike its fellow Embracer studio, Volition, which was recently closed as part of Embracer’s ongoing efforts to streamline its business.
For now, the future of Gearbox remains uncertain. While sources believe a sale is on the table, and that Embracer may have interested third parties lined up for a purchase, there is no official word yet – and Embracer has so far declined to comment publicly.
In regards to other business, the company has recently confirmed layoffs at yet another studio – MX vs ATV Legends developer, Rainbow Studios. As part of Embracer’s ongoing restructuring, and following the collapse of a major US $2 billion deal, a number of employees at the studio have reportedly been laid off.
“Like so many in this industry, my Studio has been affected by the Embracer Group restructuring, and I was laid off yesterday,” Austin Herrington, former Rainbow Studios QA analyst posted on LinkedIn. “This is a profoundly sad moment for the industry, and for me personally as I leave a studio I love.”
In response to Game Developer’s report, an Embracer spokesperson told the website that the ongoing process of restructuring would focus on “cost savings, capital allocation and operational and financial efficiency measures” which included “the closing of studios, downsizing, and termination of projects with low projected returns.”
Embracer Group’s restructuring program is expected to continue into early 2024.