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Embracer Group Creates Freemode To Focus On Retro Gaming, Classics And Iconic Properties, Acquires Limited Run Games

by Rainier on Aug. 17, 2022 @ 9:32 p.m. PDT

Embracer Group announced the formation of Embracer Freemode, comprised of certain gaming and entertainment companies owned by Embracer. 

Freemode is led by CEO Lee Guinchard, a 30-year gaming veteran and entrepreneur. Freemode provides a global strategic, operational, and financial support ecosystem for its collective of small to mid-sized companies to achieve operational efficiency and effectively grow their businesses to fulfil their long-term goals. In addition, Freemode will expand its operating activities in the retro, classic, and heritage gaming category, as well as investing in iconic gaming & entertainment properties.

The newly formed operative group focuses on 6 broad and diverse business market segments including: Retro/Classic/Heritage Gaming & Entertainment, Game Development & Production, Devices, Gear & Collectables, Community & Ecommerce, New Idea & Technology Incubation and Production Services.

“With our announcement of Freemode, we demonstrate our continued commitment to diversified growth into new areas, ultimately preserving yesterday`s classics in addition to expanding further tomorrow’s gaming and entertainment experiences,” says Lars Wingefors, Embracer AB Group CEO.

Freemode strikes the ideal balance of independence with targeted levels of world class operational support, growth capital, and strategic guidance. The founders of acquired companies within this progressive ecosystem maintain autonomy and creative control, whilst also gaining the critical resources to scale.

“Creators by their nature are at the forefront of industry-leading innovation and disruption. Founders are empowered to realize their true creative vision. Ultimately, our goal is to provide our entrepreneur-led companies with the essential resources to deliver the most exciting entertainment experiences for fans around the world.” says Lee Guinchard, Freemode CEO.

CEO Lee Guinchard was co-founder & CEO of Aionic Labs Inc an ideation technology incubator located in Silicon Valley, California. He was also Studio Head of Red Octane Design and VP of Hardware at video game publisher Activision Blizzard for 11 years. While at Activision Blizzard, he oversaw hardware development, manufacturing, and compliance for multibillion dollar franchises such as Guitar Hero and Skylanders. Lee was also Founder and CEO of Joytech, a global video game accessory company, as well as Founder and Managing Director of LDA Distribution, a leading pan-European video game distributor. Both companies were acquired by Take 2 Interactive in 1999.

"We are also proud to officially announce that we recently acquired Tatsujin which is Embracer's first studio located in Japan. Tatsujin is led by Masahiro Yuge, one of the founders of the iconic arcade games studio Toaplan known for games such as Truxton, Snow Bros and Flying Shark. Acquiring the rights to the Toaplan catalogue separately in another deal means Tatsujin with several employees that once created the Toaplan games can now curate these classics and shepherd them into the future."

Freemode also acquired Bitwave Games, a Swedish studio with passion for retro games. With the backing of Freemode, Bitwave can expand the internal development team and build a publishing team. Bitwave will bring the highly regarded shoot 'em up games from Toaplan to PC and publish the NES/Famicom classic platformer Gimmick! on console and modern consoles in the west.

"We are also excited to announce that we recently acquired Gioteck one Europe`s leading gaming accessory brands. Gioteck has a rich heritage spanning 2 decades. We believe there are great opportunities for Gioteck to collaborate within Embracer as well as the wider gaming industry."

Freemode is headquartered in Karlstad, Sweden with territory offices in Livermore, California, London, UK, and Hong Kong. 

Founding Freemode Operating Group companies include Embracer companies: Tatsujin (Japan), Game Outlet Europe (Sweden), Clear River Games (Sweden), Quantic Lab (Romania), Bitwave Games (Sweden), Gioteck (United Kingdom), C77 Entertainment (USA) and Grimfrost (Sweden).


Embracer Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode, has entered into an agreement to acquire Singtrix LLC (“Singtrix”) from its founders.

Singtrix, based in the Los Angeles area, is an award-winning creator of industry leading vocal processing effects technology for karaoke, gaming, and entertainment. Through the transaction, Freemode gains a world class group of entrepreneurs and creators, adding to its innovation group in the US. The Singtrix team has a 25-year history of developing iconic music games and is noted as the first to patent the core technology behind the Guitar Hero Franchise.

“The Singtrix team is one of the most highly regarded innovators in music gaming, vocal processing, and entertainment. Their proven track record behind groundbreaking mass music franchises and inspiring singing experiences is without parallel and makes them a perfect fit for Freemode’s plan to vastly expand its entertainment offerings”, says Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode.

Singtrix creator and CEO John Devecka is a music gaming pioneer. In 1996, John patented and invented the first music video game, MTV Drumscape, which became a top-10 attraction in arcades. His foundational music gaming patent portfolio was ultimately acquired by Activision for its smash hit Guitar Hero, where he worked with top gaming and development studios introducing new music gaming technology. After leaving Activision, Devecka reinvented karaoke with Singtrix and its industry leading studio quality vocal effects. Together, with his co-founders Al Roque and Eric Berkowitz, the Singtrix team plan to bring the next pop culture musical experience to the world.

Through the acquisition, Freemode welcomes a highly innovative team of 5 and its extensive network that will strengthen Freemode’s game development and present new opportunities for music and audio gaming products. Management expects that Singtrix will expand its vocal technology platform into a broad range of new music games, streaming, and mobile franchises. In addition, Singtrix’s presence in Los Angeles further builds on Freemode’s footprint in the US and provides a new major hub of entertainment creator talent on the West Coast.

Limited Run Games

Embracer Group, through its wholly owned subsidiary Freemode has entered into an agreement to acquire Limited Run Games, Inc. from its founders Josh Fairhurst and Douglas Bogart. Limited Run is a global leading collector-focused publisher of physical video games with a strong brand, established direct-to-consumer channels, and owns the development technology Carbon Engine that ports retro games to modern platforms.

”As an avid collector, I’ve admired Limited Run’s collectors’ editions. They’ve built a strong brand that resonates with players. We see opportunities for Limited Run to further grow their business with the Carbon Engine by bringing back classic games, and extend their footprint geographically through synergies with other companies within Embracer Group”, says Lars Wingefors, CEO of Embracer Group.

Limited Run is the global leading brand within its nische/business, a premium publisher of physical games founded in 2015 by Josh Fairhurst (CEO) and Douglas Bogart (COO). The company is based in North Carolina, USA, and employs 69 persons. In an increasingly digital world, Limited Run has become the preferred partner for physical releases and lives by the motto: Forever Physical. Since its inception Limited Run has published over 1,000 digital games to physical release. Partners include niche indie studios as well as major publishers.

Limited Run is well-known for its collector’s editions and operates a direct-to-consumer model with a big loyal audience of collectors. The company evolved its business model with vinyl records and other merchandise, and distributed titles helping other publishers bring physical versions of their games to market through the Limited Run site and retailers.

In addition to the Limited Run brand and addressable audience, a strategic value is the Carbon Engine, an internally developed technology that allows legacy content and retro games to be effortlessly put out in highly accurate, emulation-based ports for modern platforms – creating a true “carbon copy” of the original game. Old, well-loved and sought-after rare releases can be made available and accessible on all-new hardware using the Carbon Engine. It is a core component of Limited Run’s vision for a world that is Forever Physical. First shipped games with the Carbon Engine are Shantae and River City Girls Zero.

Limited Run will operate as an independent subsidiary with Josh Fairhurst (CEO) and Douglas Bogart (COO) continuing to lead the company under the newly formed operative group “Embracer Freemode” (Freemode). The Carbon Engine and Limited Run’s business model aligns with the focus area heritage within Freemode cherishing retro games and the opportunity to shepherd classic games into the future and preserve the legacy.

The transaction includes the wholly-owned subsidiary Limited Run Retail LLC, a retail store in Cary, North Carolina, that opened earlier this year, and Limited Run’s 40% ownership in the joint-venture Super Deluxe Games in Japan that will source more games to Limited Run on the Western market and provide a channel to sell Limited Run’s catalogue in one of the strongest markets in the world for physical games.

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