Embracer's CEO says 'I'm sure I deserve a lot of criticism' as he reflects on a company split three ways—but maintains that every 'key entrepreneur and CEO' believed in its 'mission'

Lars Wingefors official photo
(Image credit: Embracer Group)

If you've not been following the journey of Embracer, let me speedrun an explanation real quick: Over the course of seven years, Embracer snapped up a bunch of companies, hit an iceberg of a sunken $2 billion dollar deal, subsequently laid off 1,400 people in six months, and scrapped a bunch of projects while selling off studios to bail water.

Recently, the hull has split three ways. Embracer will break off into Asmodee Corp, Coffee Stain & Friends, and Middle-Earth Enterprises & Friends. This is something Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors called "the start of a new chapter". Going forward, he'll be a shareholder in all three companies.

Looking back on the rest of the book, though, Wingefors does seem to admit that he might have messed up. Just a bit. 

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Wingefors concedes that "as a leader and an owner, sometimes you need to take the blame and you need to be humble about if you've made mistakes and if you could have done something differently."

While he's "sure I deserve a lot of criticism" and that he "could take a lot of that blame myself", Wingefors sees the aforementioned split as a way to continue the core vision of the company (soon-to-be-formerly) known as Embracer.

"I still feel I have the trust from many or all of my key entrepreneurs and CEOs that have joined the group," Wingefors states. "It's been difficult, but I think they all believed in the mission of Embracer." 

As for the oft-criticised spending spree: "When we were at the peak of 2020, 2021, we made all those decisions to acquire or organically set up or invest … I firmly believed in that. The outcome, because it takes a number of years to make games, is different and it's painful and we need to adapt to it."

Despite forming a large part of the over 16,000 layoffs which rocked the games industry in 2023 and early 2024, Wingefors remains certain that Embracer has "been trying to safeguard as many jobs as possible," adding "We've been trying to find new homes for teams and people." He then says that it's "easy to look back in hindsight on things." As for what those things are, your guess is as good as mine.

Ultimately Embracer's legacy is, as a respondent to a GDC survey in 2024 puts it, "[buying] up large swaths of an industry" and "creating redundancies and placing innovative, more 'exploratory' studios in a position where they’ll never be seen as profitable enough for shareholders." 

An abundance of oops, my bad won't do much to wash that reputation from the public record. Here's hoping that the split is a healthy one, and that we don't see the three houses of the once-great fiefdom Embracer shovelled into the maw of some other conglomerate. Oh, and that the KOTOR remake is still okay

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.