Embracer Group CEO Lars Wingefors Admits He’s Made Mistakes, Says “I’m Sure I Deserve A Lot Of Criticism”

2 months ago 88

Embracer Group has earned itself a very negative reputation in the games industry over the last few years. After going on a veritable shopping spree of studio acquisitions, picking up multiple companies at a time, the Sweden-based publisher then went on to layoff hundreds of developers.

The nine-month restructuring saw legacy studios closed, highly anticipated projects cancelled, and has become itself a beacon for arguments against further consolidation of the games industry.

Chief executive officer through all this, Lars Wingefors, has received a lot of criticism, something that even he admits, he deserves.

Wingefors gave an interview to GamesIndustry.Biz, and while the whole interview will appear tomorrow, [Wednesday, April 24, 2024] in a sneak preview GI.Biz reports that in his own words, Wingefors says “I’m sure I deserve a lot of criticism.”

He also admits that it was Embracer’s acquisition of Asmodee that officially put the company into debt, and defends the decision by saying “I think it’s too early to say what’s right or wrong in this.”

Wingefors also does, to a certain degree at least, do the thing CEO’s should do, which is understand the buck stops with them, and doesn’t believe any of the leaders and studios within the Embracer umbrella deserve any flack.

“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.”

The rest of the interview will seemingly dive into Embracer’s latest shift of splitting itself into three separate companies. Wingefors says that this step is still very much in line with the dream he was touting for Embracer to those the company acquired, and adds that he doesn’t believe he’s lost the trust of the studio heads under his purview.

“I still feel I have the trust from many or all of my key entrepreneurs and CEOs that have joined the group. 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.”

It’s all well and good to say this now, and even Wingefors admits “It’s easy to look back in hindsight on things.” At the very least Wingefors is recognizing the reality of the situation, and admitting he has made mistakes.

“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.

In every given moment, you are making decisions you believe are right. When we were at the peak of 2020, 2021, we made all those decisions to acquire or organically set up or invest… and everyone was backing that. I firmly believed in that. The outcome, because it takes a number of years to make games, is different and it’s painful and we need to adapt to it. We have been trying to safeguard as many jobs as possible. We’ve been trying to find new homes for teams and people… It’s easy to look back in hindsight on things.”

However it’s also worth noting that this strategy Wingefors “firmly” believes in ultimately comes down to making the company’s shareholders happy. It’s doubtful he’d still be where he is if that wasn’t his priority.

So for now we wait with anticipation on the rest of the interview, and admit it’s at least better to see some responsibility taken over the usual heaping of ‘none’ we get from the likes of Take-Two, EA, even PlayStation executives.

But admitting to mistakes is different than learning from them. On whether or not Wingefors has done the latter, the jury is still out.

Source – [GamesIndustry.Biz]

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