Tomb Raider is one of the most famous video game franchises of all time.
Christian Petersen Getty Images
The iconic video game franchise Tomb Raider is being sold by its Japanese publisher Square Enix as part of a $ 300 million deal.
Square Enix announced on Monday that it will transfer three of its game development studios – Eidos Interactive, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal – to the Swedish firm Embracer Group.
Embracer will also acquire intellectual property for Tomb Raider and three other game series, including Deux Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain.
Square Enix said it is selling assets to cut costs amid a challenging global business environment and investing in new technologies such as the blockchain.
The deal “allows start-ups to move forward with investment in industries including blockchain, AI and the cloud,” a statement from Square Enix said in a statement.
The company’s drive to increase spending on blockchain – the technology behind many cryptocurrencies and irreplaceable tokens – has led to some reaction on social media. One user said the move was “how to sell your home for magic beans”.
Crowds of gamers have generally been skeptical of NFT, a digital asset designed to represent ownership of one-of-a-kind collectibles.
While proponents of the technology say it could open up new kinds of gaming experiences, many gamers are unsure of viewing NFT as environmentally harmful money.
Tomb Raider is one of the most famous video game franchises of all time. In the games, players guide British archaeologist Lara Croft through a series of ancient tombs and dangerous ruins. To date, more than 80 million copies have been sold.
The Tomb Raider heroine quickly became a cultural icon, inspired the creation of many films and goods, and sparked a debate about the over-sexualization of female characters in the gaming industry.
Square Enix, best known for its popular games Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts, acquired ownership of the Tomb Raider series after buying Eidos Interactive in 2009.
It should now become the property of Swedish Embracer, and the company expects the deal to be approved and completed by the end of September.
Embracer is not a nominal name in games. Originally established as a seller of comics and games, the company has become one of the largest gaming groups in Europe after buying many major studios including Gearbox, the franchise shooter developer Borderlands, and Koch Media.
Gaming analysts said the price of the deal on Square Enix’s western assets was surprisingly low, but the company has long been looking for a buyer.
“Square Enix is looking to unload this part of its business to restructure and focus its investments,” said Pierce Harding-Rawls, head of gaming research at Ampere Analysis, to CNBC.
“He’s struggling to get continued commercial success from these studios, and he wants to build more savings for the organization with more convincing growth and a history of profits for its shareholders.”
Square Enix has said it will continue to publish titles from other international franchises, including Just Cause, Outriders and Life is Strange.