Back in May, we reported that Embracer Group had struck a deal to acquire a number of Square Enix’s western studios. Now it seems as though Sony could be looking to purchase Square Enix Japan, according to one of the founders of Eidos-Montreal and former top dog at Square Enix; Stephane D’Astous.
That was not all that D’Astous divulged in a recent interview he did with GamesIndusty.Biz. He also took a fair few swipes at his former company, claiming sub-par leadership at Square Enix is leading to poor decisions being made. Decisions such as selling off Square’s western studios so cheaply to Embracer Group.
When we reported on the story earlier in the year, we stated that the amount paid by Embracer Group to acquire Square Enix’s western IP was curiously low. Thanks to this recent interview from an inside party, we now have a clue as to why.
One of the major questions hanging over Square Enix selling Eidos-Montréal and Crystal Dynamics to Embracer Group wasn’t; why were these IPs sold? The major question was why were some of the most popular IPs in the world of gaming being sold for a measly $300/£249 million?
D’Astous left Eidos-Montréal back in 2013, meaning that he was not directly involved in the recent acquisition deal. However, he does claim that the recent sale of Square Enix’s sale of some of their most sought-after IP didn’t necessarily come as a surprise to him. Instead, he describes this recent deal as a postscript to the company allowing Hitman developers IO Interactive to break away and become an independent studio again in 2017.
It was a train wreck in slow motion, to my eyes, anyway. It was predictable that the train was not going in a good direction. And maybe that justified $300 million. That’s really not a lot. That doesn’t make sense. If I read between the lines, Square Enix Japan was not as committed as we hoped initially. And there are rumours, obviously, that with all these activities of mergers and acquisitions, that Sony would really like to have Square Enix within their wheelhouse. I heard rumours that Sony said they’re really interested in Square Enix Tokyo, but not the rest. So, I think [Square Enix CEO Yosuke] Matsuda-san put it like a garage sale.
Although he does explicitly make use of the word “rumours”, this interview marks the first time that we have heard the idea of Sony purchasing Square Enix Japan come from the mouth of someone from within the industry. This in-and-of-itself is significant. Another interesting aspect of what D’Astous said is the implication that Square Enix consciously sold Eidos-Montréal and Crystal Dynamics partly in order to make themselves a more desired acquisition prospect for Sony.
Sony has yet to comment on what D’Astous had to say in the interview, but you can bet that we will be reporting on it here at KeenGamer.com as soon as they do.
What do you think? In your opinion, are Sony looking to acquire Square Enix Japan? Do you think that an acquisition deal between the two companies could be imminent? Is this just yet another sign of the upcoming War of Acquisitions? Do you feel that this purchase would be a positive or a negative thing for the industry as a whole? Sound off in the comments section or you can hit me up on Twitter linked below in my bio.