After at least 1,400 layoffs, 7 studios closed, and 29 games canceled, Embracer CEO admits "I deserve a lot of criticism"

Tomb Raider
(Image credit: Crystal Dynamics)

Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors is taking the brunt of responsibility when it comes to the company's most recent round of layoffs, studio closures, and game cancelations.

Amid an ongoing period of unprecedented volatility in the video game industry, Embracer laid off 1,400 employees, shuttered seven studios, and canceled 29 games over the course of about nine months in 2023. The restructuring took place after years of high-profile mergers and acquisitions, not to mention the failure of a $2 billion investment deal with Saudi publishing and esports company Savvy Games Group.

Responding to criticisms fueled by these actions, Wingefors told GamesIndustry: "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.

"I'm sure I deserve a lot of criticism, but I don't think my team or companies deserve all the criticism. I could take a lot of that blame myself. But ultimately I need to believe in the mission we set out and that is still valid, and we are now enabling that by doing this [new] structure."

On Monday, Embracer announced that it's splitting into three separate entities; Coffee Stain, Middle-Earth, and Asmodee; all focusing on different areas of the current business. A few weeks ago, the company sold Borderlands developer Gearbox for $460 million USD after acquiring it for roughly $1.3 billion just over three years ago. Despite all of this movement, Wingefors there's unity between the top dogs of Embracer about the company's direction.

"I still feel I have the trust from many or all of my key entrepreneurs and CEOs that have joined the group," he said. "It's been difficult, but I think they all believed in the mission of Embracer. They also understand that the world has changed, we need to change. It's painful. 

"We can't make all the games we wanted to make three years ago, but we need to adapt to it. We will still make games, we still have one of the biggest, if not the biggest, pipeline of games in the industry. And we have great plans over the coming years or decades."

For everything on the horizon, don't miss our complete guide to upcoming video game release dates.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked as a copy editor while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG on the side. Now, as GamesRadar's west coast Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.