Tomb Raider is one of the most famous video game franchises of all time.
Christian Petersen Getty Images
The iconic Tomb Raider video game franchise is being sold by Japanese publisher Square Enix as part of a $ 300 million deal.
Square Enix said on Monday it would transfer three of its game development studios – Eidos Interactive, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix Montreal – to Swedish firm Embracer Group.
Embracer will also acquire the intellectual property for Tomb Raider and three other game series, including Deux Ex, Thief and Legacy of Kain.
Square Enix said it was selling the assets to cut costs amid a challenging global business environment and investing in new technologies such as the blockchain.
The deal “allows new businesses to be started by moving forward with investments in areas including blockchain, AI and the cloud,” a statement from Square Enix said in a statement.
The company’s commitment to increase costs in the blockchain – the technology behind many cryptocurrencies and irreplaceable tokens – has led to some reaction on social media. One user said the move was “like selling your house for magic beans.”
The crowd of gamers is usually skeptical of NFT – digital assets designed to represent the ownership of unique collectibles.
While proponents of the technology say it could unlock new types of gaming experiences, many gamers are unconvinced, viewing NFT as an environmentally harmful money-grabbing.
Tomb Raider is one of the most famous video game franchises of all time. The games see players navigate British archaeologist Lara Croft through a series of ancient tombs and dangerous ruins. It has sold more than 80 million copies so far.
Tomb Raider’s character quickly became a cultural icon, inspiring many films and goods, while provoking a debate about the oversexualization 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 finalized by the end of September.
Embracer is not a common name in games. Originally established as a comic book and game retailer, the company became one of the largest gaming groups in Europe after grabbing a number of major studios, including Gearbox, the developer of the Borderlands shooter franchise, and Koch Media.
Game analysts say Square Enix’s Western asset price is surprisingly low, but that the company has long been looking for a buyer.
“Square Enix is looking to unload this part of its business in order to restructure and focus its investments,” Pierce Harding-Rawls, head of gaming research at Ampere Analysis, told CNBC.
“He is struggling to achieve lasting commercial success from these studios and wants to build a more cost-effective organization with a more compelling history of growth and profit 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.