Buyer steps in for Emergent

Buyer steps in for Emergent

By Rob Crossley

December 17th 2010 at 5:18PM

Gerbsman Partners confirms successful Gamebryo sale

The technology and IP of game engine vendor Emergent has been sold to an anonymous company, Develop can reveal.

Several firms pledged interest in Emergent’s assets, a trusted source said, yet the sale was made to “one single highest bidder”.

Gerbsman Partners, an asset liquidation group, today confirmed to Develop that Emergent’s assets had successfully been purchased.

The identity of the buyer will be revealed soon.

Open bidding on Emergent technologies – including the Gamebryo engine – concluded last week.

Develop can also reveal that Katie Morgan, Emergent’s vice president of global marketing, is leaving the company. She joined Emergent in 2008 and became a regular patron of industry events, from Develop in Brighton to GDC.

Morgan has co-founded a consulting agency for middleware companies, named Fast Forward, along with a new business partner.

As of mid-November, Emergent said it had not made cuts to its workforce and was operating “under its normal course of business”. Develop has contacted Emergent on the matter.

The group’s popular Gamebryo LightSpeed engine is central to numerous games, including Fallout 3 and Epic Mickey.

The firm has struggled of late. It announced a restructure in late 2009, and appointed a new CEO earlier this year.

Despite setting up more nimble efforts such as an IP and studio incubator - which gave free office space to new studios in exchange for future licensing revenues - other big bets, such as an aborted joint venture to merge technology with challenged Australian studio Krome, appeared to have accelerated the firm's difficulties.

Although it has been a popular choice in the middleware world - Emergent's Gamebryo has featured in over 350 games and generated $12.2m in revenue last year - its rivals have outpaced it; Unity is currently riding a wave of excitement at its yearly Unite conference, which started yesterday, while Epic Games is moving to new platforms such as iOS.

Recently, Bethesda Softworks decided against licensing the Gamebryo engine for its next Elder Scrolls title, bringing an end to a four-year partnership – and a routine money-spinner for the company.

Emergent was originally formed in 2000 to create 3D graphics technology. It merged with Gamebryo creator NDL in 2005. The firm currently offices around the world, with its main development base in California.