Warner Bros. Games To Shift Away From Standard Releases In Favor Of “More Always On Gameplay Through Live Services, Multiplatform And Free-To-Play Extensions”
In the latest anti-consumer move from an overzealous industry whose greed continually pushes them towards yet another collapse, Warner Bros. Games has announced that rather than further adhering to the standard development philosophy of taking one’s time to produce a new title every few years, they will instead be shifting their focus towards “more always on gameplay through live services, multiplatform and free-to-play extensions”.
This new direction for the studio was first revealed to the public on November 8th amidst their parent company Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q3 2023 earnings call.
Speaking to performance of the company’s video game division, CEO David Zaslav told investors, “Looking across our full portfolio, another area where we see particular opportunity is in gaming where we have 11 world class studios and are unique amongst our media peers as both a developer and publisher of games.”
“Research has shown that Gen Z and Gen Alpha prefer gaming to any other form of entertainment, more than social media, more than watching television or listening to music, more than going to the movie theater,” he posited. “Games will be even more important to our fans in the future, and so having this asset in our arsenal is a critical differentiator and a real growth opportunity.”
Following a brief highlighting of Hogwarts Legacy‘s breakout success, Zaslav then noted, “We’ve worked really hard on our games business for the last year and a half. And it’s also a business where we have had a strong track record.”
“Games have been a very successful and steady segment for Warner Bros. for over a decade,” said the CEO. “We’ve been profitable in each of the last 15 years averaging more than $400 million in EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] the last three years alone.”
“We believe games is a critical and very valuable asset for the company with a great deal of potential for growth,” he then added before going on to confidently declare, “Games has consistently enjoyed among the highest ROIs of any of our businesses. And while we’re smaller than some of the leading pureplay gaming companies, our operating margins are comparable to the best of the public companies. We’re clearly punching above our weight and we’re just getting started.”
To this end, Zaslav then boasted about how “similar to the leaders in the industry, we’ve led with multiple key franchises, each of which is $1 billion gaming property”.
“Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC – which is mainly Batman today – and Mortal Kombat, whose most recent release, Mortal Kombat 1 has sold nearly 3 million copies since its launch in mid-September,” he detailed. “So we’ve got the proven IP and franchises, the world class studios and publishing talent and we intend to continue to invest more capital and more resources into the business.”
Unfortunately for players, Zaslav then revealed that this ‘investment’ into their video game business would not be based on delivering quality products, but rather on pushing their aforementioned franchises into the world of live service gaming and aggressively monetizing them via various microtransactions.
“Our focus is on transforming our biggest franchises from largely console and PC based with three-four year release schedules to include more always on gameplay through live services, multiplatform and free-to-play extensions with the goal to have more players spending more time on more platforms,” the CEO declared. “Ultimately we want to drive engagement and monetization of longer cycles and at higher levels. We have put specific capabilities. We are currently under scale and see significant opportunity to generate greater post purchase revenue.”
Drawing his thoughts on Warner Bros. Games to a close, Zaslav ultimately asserted, “Bottom line, we’ve come a long way in 19 months and have built a very solid foundation for growth.”
“I’m energized by what we’ve done in such a short period of time and even more so than where we are headed as a company,” he concluded. “As I said at the outset, our industry is undergoing great disruption and while there are some key factors that are .out of our control, like the economy and the impacts of the strike, we do have a very strong handle on those areas of our businesses that we can directly influence.”
Warner Bros. Games’ next major release, the Rocksteady Studios-developed Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, is due to blast into Metropolis on February 2nd, 2024.