Warner Bros. Interactive is up for sale

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Panfoot

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#1  Edited By Panfoot

https://news.avclub.com/at-t-apparently-wants-to-offload-warner-bros-interacti-1844031740

So this is a bit of a weird one, AT&T wants to ditch Warner Bros. Interactive and it looks like a lot of the other big publishers are looking into it(the article lists EA, Take Two, and Activision Blizzard as having shown interest). Warner Bros. does have a decent catolog of big games but seems like a real hard sell once you realize the vast majority of their stuff is all licensed. Rocksteady hasn't made a non Batman game since Urban Chaos(Can't see this getting remastered any time soon, yikes) and whatever they have been working on since Arkham Knight is probably another licensed game(be it DC, LOTR, or Harry Potter). Monolith Productions has been mostly LOTR games for the past decade. Of course you've got Netherealm with Mortal Kombat, but they also have Injustice going too which is full DC. I think Travelers Tales is all licensed Lego games except for Lego Worlds. That just kinda leaves Scribblenauts and the dormant FEAR series as some of the few series that wouldn't require working with a license holder for the new owner.

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csl316

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Some damn fine games have come out of WB's publishing in recent years. Figured they were on their way up.

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Doerr007

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I Could see Microsoft or Sony trying to pick up some of the teams as new consoles could always use exclusives.

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Onemanarmyy

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#4  Edited By Onemanarmyy

I agree that when you take away the licenses, these studio's don't have all that much valuable IP to work with. However, pretty much all these studio's have incredibly talented folks inside them that have been able to ship big AAA titles and attain critical and commercial success for it. One look at Monolith Productions page and i get excited about that studio. NOLF, Condemned, Fear, Shogo, Claw, Blood? Yes please! I want this studio to thrive!

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finaldasa

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#5 finaldasa  Moderator

I have seen a $3 or $4 billion price floating around as a target price and that seems....steep in the current market.

Lots of questions too. Do you keep the DC license for future games? Who owns which IP because buying NetherRealms and not getting MK changes the value. Will everything be sold together or piecemeal?

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bigsocrates

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This really shows that the model of Hollywood trying to make their own video games with their IP does not work. Studios keep opening up these big video game arms but they don't seem to want to actually keep them going. I guess the licensing business is just better.

I would think that most buyers would be interested in buying specific studios unless the licenses come with the publisher, which I doubt. I thought WB Interactive existed to make games based on Warner Brothers properties. That's pretty much what they've done (Even Mortal Kombat is getting a new WB distributed movie) so it's a weird company to separate from WB as a whole.

On the plus side, if they're purchased by a video game company then maybe we can see them do something with all the Midway IP that Warner Brothers has just been ignoring for the last 10 years. I would love to see rereleases of the Rush series, or Shadow Hearts games if Midway still owns the American rights, or a thousand other amazing games that could be rereleased or re-imagined. They did put out that Midway Arcade Origins collection in 2012, and that's backwards compatible on Xbox One, so most of the truly classic Midway arcade games are technically available, but it would be nice to see a more modern version of something like that with even more games and better presentation. Something equivalent to Rare Replay but for Midway would be amazing, especially if it included some of the more obscure titles. We need Bio F.R.E.A.K.S. on the PS5!

@onemanarmyy:You just named a bunch of games that were made 10 years ago or more. There's probably been huge turnover since then, so there's no point in buying Monolith to get access to the guys who made Blood and No One Lives Forever. The IPs themselves (assuming the studio owns them, which I doubt is true for all of them) are pretty dormant (Who's up for the next Shogo game? Anyone? Anyone?) and while I could imagine No One Lives Forever getting a reboot, and mayyyyyybe a Condemned 3 or F.E.A.R. 4, since those games are still remembered, they aren't worth much.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor was well-regarded, even if I didn't personally love it, and Shadow of War was competently made on a moment to moment basis (and the bad parts were caused by the publisher) so they still have talent, but they're not what they were in the 90s or 2000s.

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Onemanarmyy

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#7  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@bigsocrates I agree with you that a lot of their IP might not be very strong anymore (Although i would def be up for a Shogo reboot personally. That game was rad and an shooter that operates on a soldier & a mech basis could still do great nowadays). I also agree that none of these studio's latest games have blown me away, but i still think the people inside Rocksteady, Monolith , Neversoft have produced so many well-liked big titles that they should be considered an upgrade to pretty much anyone that can recruit these folk. Some of these people have left over the years, others have stuck around, but these studio's have always been able to deliver generally well-liked games and worked with sizeable budgets. Are these people worth 3 or 4 billion $? I have no idea.

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This really shows that the model of Hollywood trying to make their own video games with their IP does not work. Studios keep opening up these big video game arms but they don't seem to want to actually keep them going. I guess the licensing business is just better.

This is not true at all Warner Bros. Interactive has been very very profitable their own studios have always put out titles that have sold really well and they have have a very succesful publishing arm for instance they published Witcher 3 in North America. The reason for the sale is AT&T has $200 billion of debt that investers want reduced.

Warner Bros Interactive has revenue of about $3 billion a year they do well across mobile, publishing, licensing and their own content. $4 billion is a steal if they buyer can get a license agreement.

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Panfoot

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(Who's up for the next Shogo game? Anyone? Anyone?)

(It's me, I'm that guy). But really the best case scenario for me is however this goes, for whoever ends up with them to remember that Condemned exists again. At this point I would just be happy to get a PC version of Condemned 2.

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#10  Edited By conmulligan

I could see WBI being pretty attractive to EA, assuming the deal includes an IP agreement, because licensed games are their bread and butter. If not, maybe Microsoft is an option? They seem more interested in raw dev talent than IP and studios like Rocksteady, NetherRealm and Monolith would substantially close the gap with Sony.

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Shindig

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#11  Edited By Shindig

Capcom. Let's make MK x SF x Tekken x DC happen. It's be like Smash but a real fighting game.

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