Saber’s Founder Says Embracer CEO ‘Gets a Bad Rap’

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The Embracer Group became something of an industry boogeyman over the last year and a half as a result of the company’s divestiture of assets and mass laying off of more than 1,400 employees. As Embracer rushed to restructure following the implosion of a sizeable deal worth $2 billion, studios were closed, employees were dismissed, and everyone became an enemy of the company, slating the brand on social media and making it the butt of jokes the world over.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, the founder of Saber Interactive, Matt Karch, came to the defence of Embracer’s CEO, Lars Wingefors. Karch recently purchased Saber Interactive back from Embracer for a whopping $247 million, securing the brand that he once helped create.

‘Everyone Likes to Pick on’ Embracer

In the sit down with GI, Matt Karch spoke about the concept of Embracer becoming the scapegoat for the tumultuous time the industry has had since the start of 2023. As the head honcho at the firm, Lars Wingefors shouldered a lot of that blame and criticism, but Karch insists it’s ill-founded:

In my mind, nobody has been guided by more of a sense of fairness and reasonableness than Lars. The process that we’ve had to go through to terminate studios has absolutely been… it’s killed us … I would say Embracer tried harder than anybody to save as many jobs as it could.

He leant into the recent sale of Gearbox as an example of how Wingefors tried to right the ship while saving employees from redundancy.

Gearbox just sold, right? The employees that were within that company remained in that company until after the announcement, right? Because Lars didn’t want to let anybody go, he really wanted to keep everybody. So I think he gets a bad rap.

Talking further about Wingefors, Karch insisted the Embracer CEO lives and breathes video games and is passionate about the industry. In a transparent statement, Karch explained that the failed deal with the Savvy Games Group in Saudi Arabia applied something of a stranglehold to Embracer, causing the firm to lock down their business development and ‘back themselves into a corner’.

In closing, Karch insisted that the industry shouldn’t ‘bet against Lars right now’, assuring GI that the CEO is ‘really on top of it’. It was recently revealed that Embracer’s restructuring efforts are at an end and that no more studios will be acquired soon, so perhaps the healing can start in earnest.

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