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Nintendo Has Big Plans For The Masters Of Bringing AAA Games To Switch

Shiver Entertainment helped port Hogwarts Legacy and Mortal Kombat 1 to Switch last year.

This photo taken on January 12, 2024 shows a customer walking past a display for Super Mario by the ...

Nintendo is the latest gaming publisher to save a development studio from the clutches of Embracer Group, and the purchase may provide a look at what Nintendo has in store for the near future.

Shiver Entertainment, perhaps best known for their work on the surprisingly stable Nintendo Switch version of 2023’s Hogwarts Legacy, and the less impressive handheld port of Netherrealms’ Mortal Kombat 1, has been purchased by the legendary Japanese game maker just two and a half years after it was scooped up by Embracer.

In a note about the acquisition, Nintendo teases that not much will change for the Miami-based studio.

Shiver Entertainment is Nintendo’s first acquisition since 2022.

Future Publishing/Future Publishing/Getty Images

“By welcoming Shiver’s experienced and accomplished development team, Nintendo aims to secure high-level resources for porting and developing software titles,” the company wrote in a notice of acquisition Tuesday. “Going forward, even after it becomes a part of the Nintendo group, Shiver’s focus will remain the same, continuing commissions that port and develop software for multiple platforms including Nintendo Switch.”

Nintendo says it will buy 100 percent of Shiver’s shares, marking its first acquisition since it purchased animation studio Dynamo Pictures in 2022.

Despite Nintendo’s current status in the games industry, with a console that’s poised to become the best-selling of all time and a near impeccable recent lineup of quality, first-party games, it isn’t a company known for adopting new talent for the fun of it. This acquisition seems far more strategic and meaningful than the dozens of others we’ve seen happen (and fall through) in recent years.

We’re less than a year away from the reveal of Nintendo’s Switch successor. While no details have been confirmed, the console is expected to be a more powerful version of the super-popular console-handheld hybrid. With such a prospect, it’s reasonable to assume that like the original Switch, the new console will see its fair share of ports from previous generations. A big part of the Switch’s success has been its expansive library that includes games from across generations.

Hogwarts Legacy was an impressive, scaled-down version of a technically ambitious PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series game.

WB Games

Long before the Steam Deck helped games wade through their backlog, the Switch was the perfect way to revisit titles or play older games you may have missed. Games like L.A. Noire, Super Mario Galaxy, or the original Dragon’s Dogma were perfectly suited to the new hardware. Closing the hardware gap between Nintendo and its competitor’s current slate of hardware also means we’ll likely see more games launch across all three platforms.

Acquiring Shiver, experts in paring down large, triple-A experiences released on more powerful hardware into a playable portable version can not be undersold, especially if Nintendo follows a similar game plan for the imminent “Switch 2.”

Embracer wished the team well under their new parent company. It has been a rock few years for the Swedish publishing house that barged its way into the games industry with several high-profile, multi-million dollar purchases. In the last two years, it acquired studios like Deep Silver, Tomb Raider’s Crystal Dynamics, Dark Horse Comics, and even the transmedia rights to the Lord Of The Rings franchise.

But when a crucial $2 billion dollar deal with Saudi investors fell through last June, Embracer’s ambitions were immediately scaled back, resulting in the closure of studios like Saints Row creators Volition, and the divestment of companies like Saber Interactive and Gearbox.

Considering the grim fate of so many Embracer-owned studios, Shiver being sold to Nintendo is one of the safest outcomes to stem from this entire debacle. Not only is the Zelda and Mario makers doing extremely well for itself, especially compared to industry-wide shrinkage, it has committed to leaving Shiver to do what it does best under the watchful eye of one of the industry’s leading innovators.

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