Over the last few years, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has been in acquisition mode as they have snapped up several development companies along with the rights to some important IPs. Yesterday, Warner announced that it had acquired Turbine, who is the developer for several online MMOs including Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited
and The Lord of the Rings Online
. Previously, Warner had snapped up Midway assets (Mortal Kombat franchise), Rocksteady (Batman: Arkham Asylum), TT Games (rights to publish LEGO based titles) and Snowblind Studios (Lord of the Rings games.) The acquisition of Turbine completes the Lord of the Rings rights for Warner, who had everything except the MMO version from the Snowblind acquisition.
While Warner has been aggressive lately with their acquisitions (although surgically targeting specific genres, IPs and assets) I am not sure if this is good or bad. I suppose that bringing all rights under one roof (as is the case with the Lord of the Rings and LEGO) is good for gamers so that future releases aren’t delayed from legal disputes, but I can’t help wonder if we don’t have another Activision/EA monster growing in our midst.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Acquires Turbine, Inc., North America’s Largest Privately-Held Online Gaming Studio
BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced today the acquisition of Turbine, Inc., the largest privately-held online gaming studio in North America, further strengthening Warner Bros.’ position as one of the industry’s fastest growing, full-scale games publishers.
“Turbine’s renowned online game development and publishing expertise will help us develop additional online product offerings, while also providing us with new and innovative ways to market and communicate with our consumers.”
“Turbine is a leader in online entertainment and a strong strategic fit for Warner Bros. as we continue to broaden our games portfolio and development capabilities,” said Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. “Turbine’s renowned online game development and publishing expertise will help us develop additional online product offerings, while also providing us with new and innovative ways to market and communicate with our consumers.”
Founded in 1994 and operating primarily in Boston, Turbine has created some of the most popular and exciting gaming worlds on the Internet, including Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™, the world’s best free-to-play massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) and The Lord of the Rings Online™, the first and only MMORPG based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. Previously, Warner Bros. held all The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) games rights, with the exception of the literary MMO (massively multiplayer online game) rights. Now all games rights for the LOTR franchise will be unified under the Warner Bros. shield.
“We have been looking to expand access to our online worlds to more players and more markets,” said Jim Crowley, president and CEO, Turbine, Inc. “This acquisition is very exciting because it allows us to expand globally while continuing to focus on creating spectacular online games that our loyal fans and players have come to expect.”
Additionally, the acquisition of Turbine provides Warner Bros. with access to a proprietary digital publishing platform that enables dynamic direct-to-consumer relationships, robust online merchandising opportunities and vibrant e-commerce functionality for online games. Turbine has also developed a social networking platform that can integrate their self-developed online communities with popular third-party social networks. Outside of the games arena, these platforms present unique opportunities for Warner’s other home entertainment businesses.
“Turbine is recognized globally for its industry-leading technology, groundbreaking graphics and its unique ability to create and operate massive and persistent online worlds which greatly enhance players’ social gaming experiences,” said Martin Tremblay, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online have both been an enormous success for Turbine and we look forward to working with their talented development team to continue creating award-winning online games.”
In 2007, Warner Bros. acquired TT Games, developer of the hit LEGO-based game franchises, including LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Batman, which have wide appeal with players of all ages. Early in 2009, Warner Bros. acquired Snowblind Studios to develop its The Lord of the Rings games franchise, with the first title The Lord of the Rings: War in the North expected to be released in 2011. Also in 2009, the Studio purchased the primary assets of Midway Games. Midway published the Mortal Kombat franchise, which has sold over 26 million units worldwide. Most recently, Warner Bros. acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, a privately held developer of interactive entertainment targeted at teens and adults.
Warner Bros. continues to grow its games business through key acquisitions, building internal development capabilities, leveraging its global video distribution infrastructure, and focusing on developing major games franchises such as Batman, F.E.A.R., Mortal Kombat, The Lord of the Rings and LEGO.