Epic: Studio closures due to “stupid acquisitions” by publishers
Acquisition of Black Rock Studio by Disney “didn’t make sense”.
Epic Games’ European boss Mike Gamble has laid blame on publishers, and to some extent, the poor economy, for the recent closures of multiple studios. Citing Disney’s purchase of Black Rock Studio as an example, he said the acquisition of a hardcore racing studio by a children’s IP holder “didn’t make sense”. He called such acquisitions by publishers “stupid”.
“It’s happened because of stupid acquisitions,” he said to Eurogamer at Epic’s Unreal Engine University day in London. “This is a personal view. In my person opinion, yeah, there have been acquisitions by publishers of developers they really had no right – well, they had a right because they had the money – but what was the point of a well-known children’s IP holder buying a hardcore racing studio? It doesn’t make sense.
“A lot of the pain we’ve had in the last 18 months has been down to the economics of games development, which has changed. Big publishers have had to pull back in money wise and the casualties of that are the studios that haven’t performed for them because the industry has changed.”
However, he believes there is a silver lining to all of this. Every studio closure has brought about multiple indie studios, which Gamble believes “are brilliant” and are “very creative”.
“The games I’m seeing from indies and small developers are brilliant,” he said. “I love it. Really interesting and creative. They’re not ticking boxes for publishers that say, we’ve got this gap in the portfolio, and there’s this demographic, so we need to create this.
“They’re playing with concepts, with how things are controlled. It’s very creative.”