Square Enix Europe

Square Enix Limited
Square Enix Europe
Formerly
  • Domark Limited (1984–1990) [1]
  • Domark Group Limited (1990–1996) [1]
  • Eidos Interactive Limited (1996–2009) [1]
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded1984; 35 years ago (1984) in Putney, London, England
Founders
  • Mark Douglas Ashley Strachan
  • Dominic Marius Dennis Anthony Wheatley
Headquarters,
England
Key people
  • Michael Sherlock (COO)
  • Philip Timo "Phil" Rogers (CEO)
Products
Parent
  • Eidos Public Limited Company (1995–2005)
  • SCi Entertainment Group plc (2005–2009)
  • Square Enix (2009–present)
Subsidiaries

Square Enix Limited (formerly Domark Limited and Eidos Interactive Limited), doing business as Square Enix Europe, is a British video game publisher, acting as the European subsidiary of Square Enix. The company was founded as Domark in 1984, named after the founders Mark Strachan and Dominic Wheatley. In 1995, the company was acquired by Eidos and was merged with two other studios and renamed Eidos Interactive the following year. Eidos was in turn acquired by SCi in 2005, and Eidos Interactive was sold to Square Enix in 2009. On 9 November 2009, Square Enix completed the merger of its existing European branch with Eidos Interactive, renaming the resulting company Square Enix Europe.

Intellectual properties owned by Square Enix Europe include Deus Ex, Tomb Raider and Just Cause, among others.

History

Foundation as Domark (1984–1995)

Former Domark logo (1984–1996)

In 1984, Mark Douglas Ashley Strachan and Dominic Marius Dennis Anthony Wheatley founded Domark as a video game publisher.[2][3][4] Its first title was 1984's Eureka!, written by Ian Livingstone.[5] Livingstone would go on to become deputy chairman of the company a few years later,[6] and would stay in various roles at the company,[7] until his departure from the company in 2013.[8][9] Located within London's Putney district, the company held its own development team, The Kremlin, in the publisher's headquarters basement.[10] Domark was primarily remembered as the publisher for Championship Manager and Hard Drivin'.[11]

Transformation into Eidos Interactive (1995–2005)

Former Eidos Interactive logo (2003–2009)

On 25 September 1995, publicly traded Eidos Public Limited Company acquired Domark, alongside Simis and Big Red Software, for a total of GB£12.9 million.[12] On 31 May 1996, Simis and Big Red Software were merged into Domark to create Eidos Interactive.[13] Eidos Interactive acquired CentreGold in April 1996 for GB£17.6 million. CentreGold consisted of distributor CentreSoft and publisher U.S. Gold, which also included developers Core Design and Silicon Dreams Studio,[14][15] though the latter would be re-acquired by its founder, Geoff Brown, through his newly founded Geoff Brown Holdings, on 16 December that year.[16] The Eidos Interactive acquisition was months prior to the release of Tomb Raider by Core Design, which CentreGold had acquired two years prior.[17]

Acquisition by SCi (2005–2009)

In March 2005, Eidos admitted that cash reserves had dwindled to GB£11.9 million during the second half of 2004, and pre-tax losses had grown to GB£29 million.

On 21 March 2005, Eidos received a takeover bid from Elevation Partners, the private equity firm owned by former Electronic Arts president John Riccitiello and with a number of notable partners, including U2's lead singer Bono. This takeover valued the company at GB£71 million, and would inject GB£23 million in order to keep the company from bankruptcy in the short term.[18]

The following day, Eidos received a second takeover bid from the British games manufacturer SCi. The company offered GB£74 million, and tabled a restructuring plan to cut GB£14 million from annual costs. To fund this takeover, SCi proposed to sell GB£60 million worth of stock. Eventually, in late April, Elevation Partners formally withdrew its offer, leaving the way clear for SCi. The takeover was finalized on 16 May 2005, with SCi merging itself into Eidos Interactive's parent, renaming it SCi Entertainment Group Limited.

In May 2006, Eidos announced that independent developer Rebellion Developments had acquired Core Designs' assets and staff, while the Core brand and intellectual property, including Tomb Raider, remained in Eidos' possession.

Since the SCi purchase, the vast majority of the old Eidos Interactive management were let go. SCi left its Battersea Office and moved into the old Eidos Interactive office on the second floor of Wimbledon Bridge House, 1 Hartfield Road, Wimbledon. Eidos Interactive announced on 15 February 2007 that it would open a new studio in Montreal, Quebec, Canada responsible for "new undisclosed next-generation projects". Eidos Montréal started developing a new game in the Deus Ex franchise.[19][20]

In February 2007, Eidos Interactive acquired Rockpool Games, along with its two sister companies Ironstone Partners and SoGoPlay, and proceeded to close Rockpool Games in 2009.[21]

On 4 September 2007, the board of SCi Entertainment confirmed recent speculation that the company has been approached with a view to making an offer.[22] On 10 January 2008, SCi announced take over and/or merger talks had been halted.[23][24] As a result, the share price dropped by over 50%. Major investors called for the resignation of key personnel, including chief executive officer (CEO) Jane Cavanagh, over this issue as well as delays to key titles.[25] On 18 January 2008, Jane Cavanagh, Bill Ennis and Rob Murphy left the company.[26]

When SCi revealed its 2008 financial report, losses were at GB£100 million, but new CEO Phil Rogers claimed this was only due to the reconstructing plans.[27] On 19 September 2008, Eidos Interactive opened a Shanghai-based studio, Eidos Shanghai, consisting of a small team to build up relations in Asia.[28]

In January 2009, Eidos closed its Manchester studio.[29]

Takeover by Square Enix (2009–present)

In February 2009, Square Enix reached an agreement to purchase Eidos Interactive for GB£84.3 million, pending shareholder approval,[30] with an initial aim of fully buying Eidos Interactive on 6 May 2009.[31] The date was brought forward, and Square Enix officially took over Eidos Interactive on 22 April 2009.[32]

Square Enix initially stated that it would let Eidos Interactive remain structured as it was at the time of its takeover.[33] It subsequently announced in July 2009 that it would merge Eidos with its own pre-existing European subsidiary, Square Enix Limited (itself established on December 1998).[34][35] The merger would create a new entity, tentatively titled Square Enix Europe.[36][37] The merger was completed on 9 November 2009 with the Square Enix Europe name being permanently retained as the resulting company name.[38] The Eidos name was however retained for the development studios Eidos Montreal and Eidos Shanghai.