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Embracer Group isn't actually evil, just a company "that everyone likes to pick on", Saber founder says

“I would say Embracer tried harder than anybody to save as many jobs as it could."

Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors alongside the Embracer Group logo.
Image credit: VG247/Embracer Group

You know Embracer Group? That company that’s rather gotten a bad rap for selling off studios and laying lots of people off over the past year or so? Well, according to Saber Interactive founder Matthew Karch, we’ve all got the publisher wrong. It’s, er, not evil.

That company, regardless of what you think of it, has been in the news a lot over the past few years, often because it’s either been buying stuff up, or more recently, selling stuff off and laying lots of people off as part of a restructuring the CEO Lars Wingefors now says is done. One of the most recent instances of this was Embracer’s selling of Saber to Beacon Interactive, with the current head of the latter now having offered his views on the almighty embrace.

Speaking to, Matthew Karch, a former member of Embracer’s leadership, said that he thinks people have been a bit too hard on the company and Wingefors, who he claims has been “very maligned”. Karch cites the CEO’s wealth and the fact Embracer’s share value has dropped a lot over the past year as the reasons he believes are behind this, adding: “I think it actually dropped more on a relative basis than almost anybody else primarily because [Embracer] seems to be a company these days that everyone likes to pick on.”

Arguing that the layoffs at Embracer “weren't any worse or more significant than you saw in any other situation” Karch suggested Wingefors has shown “a sense of fairness and reasonableness”. “The process that we've had to go through to terminate studios has absolutely been... it's killed us,” he asserted, later adding: “I would say Embracer tried harder than anybody to save as many jobs as it could.”

He cited the recent sale of Borderlands developer Gearbox to Take-Two as an example of this, saying: “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.”

Regarding the massive deal worth around $2 billion, reported to be between Embracer and the Saudi Arabia owned Savvy Games Group, which fell through in May last year and was one of the factors in Embracer’s decision to make cuts, Karch said: “I believe we kind of backed ourselves into a corner.” He added that he believes "the company didn't really need that deal”, but was feeling market pressures to secure further growth (capitalism, eh?). “It was basically placing too big of a bet on something that ultimately ended up not materialising for one reason or another,” he summarised.

In terms of Saber’s sale, Karch added: “We were getting congratulated left and right at GDC about leaving the evil Embracer. But these are the nicest people you've ever met.”

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