Embracer acquisition is "rocket booster" for Gearbox ambitions

Embracer acquisition is "rocket booster" for Gearbox ambitions

Gearbox's surprise $1.3bn acquisition by European publishing giant Embracer Group will allow the studio to be more ambitious.

That's according to the developer's founder Randy Pitchford (pictured), who told that while Gearbox started off as a work-for-hire studio, its ambitions have grown over the years. The firm has created its own IP like Borderlands, in addition to buying up other properties, and has opened a publishing label, too.

"We didn't create Gearbox as a means to an end," Pitchford said.

"Gearbox is a vehicle for creativity and the generation of happiness. Profitability is one of our values because we want to always make more than we spend so we can keep that dream going. The need for Embracer is that it amplifies and accelerates that; it's like a rocket booster for our ambitions and our mission to entertain the world."

He continued: "We felt that to fully maximize this stuff, we were limited by the kinds of things traditional publishers would want to bet on Gearbox with. So we knew we had to build a publishing unit so we could have access to platforms and retail, digital or physical."

Gearbox's acquisition was announced yesterday, with $363 million being paid upfront in cash and stock, with the remaining $1.015 bn being dolled out depending on whether the studio hits certain targets. The company's most recent release was Borderlands 3, which launched in September 2019.

On PC, the title was an Epic Games Store exclusive, with Pitchford claiming that the title boasted 248,000 concurrent players on the platform after release. When it made the leap to Steam the following year, the game attracted 93,500 concurrent players on launch.

Launching on Epic helped Gearbox reach new fans, Borderlands 3 senior producer Anthony Nicolson told when the game launched.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.