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Former EA/DICE Exec Starts Embark, a NEXON funded New Studio, to Create Cloud/AI/Streaming Powered Games


NEXON just announced to have made a major strategic investment to fund Embark, a new Stockholm based development studio led by former Electronic Arts and DICE executive Patrick Söderlund.

The goal of the partnership is to develop 'simulated virtual online worlds' enabled by up-and-coming technologies like cloud computing, advanced AI, and streaming. They want the games to be deeply immersive, with persistence and deep consequences for player actions.

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Embark will also create its own technology platform (which likely means engine) so that it can be optimized for this kind of experiences.

Patrick Söderlund said in a statement:

I believe games are on the cusp of changing radically, thanks to new technologies. Connected players, big data, speech recognition, cloud computing, advanced AI and more will open up new play, enabling developers to build a wider range of experiences, and for players to create and contribute. Embark is a group of veteran creators eager to move beyond current play experiences into the future.

The partnership between Embark Studios and Nexon is built on a deeply aligned vision about the future of interactive entertainment, and about challenging the standard conventions and practices of how to create. Also, Nexon’s global leadership in nurturing online game worlds and communities for many years is critical to our mission.

Owen Mahoney, President and CEO of Nexon, added:

While the online games business is very large, it is still just getting started. Today we sit at a major inflection point, with highly advanced AI technology, dynamic provisioning of computational power from the cloud, and new user interface options now offered by multiple vendors and at consumer-level price points. What remains scarce is the ability to make deeply engaging online virtual worlds that appeal to a broad global audience that can grow for many years. The formation of Embark represents one of the most exciting developments for the future of online games.

We look forward to welcoming Patrick to the Nexon board of directors. Online games are the center of the media industry, already bigger than movies. Our Board and management believe that it’s appropriate to have a game developer on our Board of Directors, especially one as capable and thoughtful as Patrick.

As a reminder, NEXON is a Korean-Japanese publisher and developer focused on PC and mobile platforms. They are known for games like Maple Story 2, which recently launched in the West, Hyper Universe, Vindictus and Counter-Strike Nexon: Zombies. NEXON also published LawBreakers and they are now developing Peria Chronicles and Dragon Hound for PC - the latter just got a new trailer ahead of G-Star 2018, which you can see below. Lastly, NEXON acquired Big Huge Games in 2016, the studio known to PC and console gamers for Rise of Nations and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The Baltimore based studio is currently managing DomiNations, a strategy game out on iOS and Android.