Paradox Interactive, which has been a privately owned company since its inception in 1999, is considering going public this year, due to impressive financial success in 2015 and a want for further growth. It's currently owned by a few individuals and companies, most notably the majority owner and CEO Fredrik Wester, who was the one talking about going public in a recent interview with Swedish website Di Digital. The announcement was received with trepidation by the community, worried that outside investors would have a negative impact on the company's output of generally excellent games aimed at niche audiences.
Many a Paradox title pops up in our list of the best strategy games.
These complaints meant that Wester issued several official statements on Twitter and the forums to help dissuade fans from panic. He stated that business announcements were done in Swedish and would continue to be in that language for legal reasons, but that announcements about games wouldn't be changing. Wester also wanted to clarify that "the principal shareholders (like myself and long time owners Spiltan Investment) in Paradox will remain principal shareholders and that only a small part of the company is in question for any future plans."
As for the reasons behind it, the interview says that Paradox are looking into more acquisitions like their recent buyout of White Wolf from CCP, and wish to expand their offerings in the console and mobile markets. That last was particularly worrisome for PC-focused players, and Wester pointed out on Twitter when asked that the company had already begun work in those areas in the last couple of years, as well as confirming that PC would remain their homebase.
Naturally, he can't go into a lot of detail, but he also makes it very clear that he and those who have been in charge in the past will remain as such:
We are still masters of our fate. We still are captain of our souls.— Fredrik Wester (@TheWesterFront) March 8, 2016
Fans of grand strategy should probably be cautiously optimisitic. Yes, selling a company on the open market makes it vulnerable to demands from elsewhere - but it also brings in a whole lot of money. Much like it will take some time to see the effect of that money, you're not going to get an overnight change into the next King or Zynga either. These investors, even at their worst, aren't about ruining companies, they're about profit - something Paradox have been doing just fine at with their current games for years.
Plus, honestly, they can burn the studio to the ground and build a meat processing plant in its place so long as I get a Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines remake beforehand. I know you all feel the same, stop lying to yourselves.