It’s all over the place, but Warner Brothers has bought Turbine studios for up to $160 million (including performance payments). Following declines in other areas, WB appears to be looking at gaming to generate some big money for it, no doubt leveraging the wide range of intellectual property WB has, including DC Comics, what came out of Midway’s acquisition and loads more.
Money and a place in the future.
WB has been splashing a lot of cash at gaming studios, picking up Midway, investing in Rocksteady Studios, TT Games, Snowblind Studios and opening up a large studio in Montreal that will focus on DC-related games. Although gamers have focused on WB getting hold of Lord of the Rings Online and thus owning all of the LOTR game rights, it appears that the wider point of acquiring Turbine is to get hold of Turbine’s micro-trans / social network-style infrastructure. It appears that WB is looking at online distribution very seriously and the easiest way to get into that space was to buy Turbine. But it isn’t PC social networks that WB are really interested in – it’s consoles.
“Where the trends are dragging us towards is looking at 3D opportunities and going direct to the consumer. The connected consoles are really a path to the home in a way that could become a meaningful distribution platform for us.”
I’m looking for some kind of announcement that WB has made a deal with Microsoft and / or Sony (and given that SOE plans to launch DC Universe Online at some point, perhaps WB has a bit more power with Sony) that lets them directly distribute content like films directly onto consoles (not that they’ll be the first, but I think WB will be the first to link movie and game offerings). WB has a pretty big back catalogue of films (6 800, apparently) and keeps releasing more, so the potential to even cut out DVD sales completely and go purely digital probably has some appeal to them.
Rumours of there being a Matrix Online 2 are probably unfounded, however.