Microsoft has joined the race to take over Warner Bros. Games, the video game development division of Warner Bros. This way the technological giant would add its name to a list of interested parties where, as CNBC advanced when it revealed AT&T’s intention to sell this business, we find Take-Two, Electronic Arts and Activision.
If Microsoft ends up being the company that takes over Warner Bros. Games, the impact on the video game industry would be significant. At least in the long term. Warner Bros. Games’ assets include several development teams, including Rocksteady Studios (Batman Arkham), TT Games (Lego), NetherRealm Studios (Mortal Kombat, Injustice), Monolith Productions (Middle Earth), Warner Bros. Games Montreal (which would be working on Gotham Knights) and Avalanche Software (with a possible Harry Potter role-playing game on the way).
However, beyond the studios and their talent, the only direct transfer Microsoft (or the company that ends up executing the purchase) would receive is the intellectual property of Mortal Kombat. Warner Bros. Games’ biggest appeal is its licensing, so the sales contract should be accompanied by a long-term concession of the rights to the DC Comics universe (including Batman), Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and any other movie from which a video game (such as Matrix) can be made.
For Xbox Game Studios, the acquisition of Warner Bros. Games would mean a further expansion of their development team roster. In addition, the list of superheroes to release games to compete against Marvel’s Spider-Man would be considerable.
AT&T’s goal with the sale of Warner Bros. Games is to take out about $4 billion to reduce its $154 billion debt, which was caused in part by the purchase of Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) for $85.4 billion. Within Time Warner we also find CNN, HBO, DC Comics and Game of Thrones among other assets. The Information and CNBC agree that the sale of Warner Bros. Games will not happen soon.
If Microsoft ends up taking over Warner Bros. Games it is unlikely that the division’s plans will change in the short term. That means that the Suicide Squad game that Rocksteady Studios is working on, Avalanche Software’s Harry Potter and Warner Bros. Games Montreal’s Gotham Knights, three projects yet to be officially announced, would maintain their multiplatform launch for the next generation.