Embracer Group’s purchase of Middle-earth Enterprises opens up a wealth of opportunities to give all sorts of new spins on JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth characters, stories and locations. I am a rider at heart, and therefore a video game company buying the various rights to the the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit means my dreams of a horse game involving the Rohirrim are that much closer to realization. But Embracer didn’t just buy the video game rights to Middle-earth; he bought (almost) all the rights. What else can Embracer do with all those juicy IP addresses, and how much of Middle-earth does the Swedish holding group own?
Does the Embracer group own The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit?
Short answer: no. Long answer: Nooooooo. To be clear, the book publishing rights still belong to the Tolkien family, as does everything The Silmarillion and Tolkien’s other posthumously published works. Warner Bros. also retains some feature film production rights under the license obtained from Middle-earth Enterprises (when it was known as Tolkien Enterprises) in the late 1990s. we got the peter jackson movies and why we get The Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim animated feature slated for 2024. Warner Bros., as part of its licensing deal, likely has to continue producing LotR media lest it risk the rights reverting to its original owners. (from Amazon power rings The TV show also circumvents this deal, having made a deal directly with Tolkien’s estate.
So what the Lord of the Rings properties does Embracer have?
Middle-earth Enterprises, according to its website, “owns exclusive worldwide film, merchandising, stage, and other rights to certain literary works by JRR Tolkien, including The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” This means that Embracer can choose from any of its 120 game studios and say “make an Éomer horse-riding adventure game”, and that would be perfectly fine, as long as it was the Éomer book and no by Karl Urban Éomer.
This isn’t Embracer Group’s first foray into Tolkien’s universe: in 2021, the company acquired Asmodee, a French board game, role-playing and card game company that published LotRflavored with card and board games for several decades.
Embracer has made it clear that they are going to fully exploit their new precious. In the press release, Embracer said: “Other opportunities include exploring additional films based on iconic characters such as Gandalf, Aragorn, Gollum, Galadriel, Eowyn and other characters from JRR Tolkien’s literary works, and carry on[ing] providing new opportunities for fans to explore this fictional world through merchandising and other experiences. Today, instead of a licensee, it has become a licensor. Embracer can start handing them out like a giant T-shirt cannon at a football game, meaning we could get anything from Éomer socks to Éomer NFTs. [Ed note: noticing an Éomer throughline here]
It’s not yet clear what will happen with the current licensees of Middle-earth Enterprises, who make everything from replica jewelry and swords to cool elven keycaps, t-shirts, bikes, honey and tiny houses. of hobbit.
The owners of the various rights to this pair of fundamental fantasy texts are a fractured hodgepodge of corporations. Embracer Group now has the lion’s share, and we can expect them to make the most of it. Rohirrim Riders, it’s our time.