Warner could still sell its game studios to Microsoft or Sony – rumour


Is this why Injustice 3 isn’t coming out any time soon? (pic: WB Games)

Questions surround Warner Bros. Interactive’s future as insiders suggest its studios could be sold to other companies.

It’s never been entirely clear what exactly is going on with Warner Bros.’ games division, ever since the first suggestions emerged that it would be split up and sold off.

For a while it looked like the issue had been settled, and that Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment would simply be spun off into part of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery. However, there are now new rumours that WB Discovery is looking to sell its games studios.

This comes from Fanbyte’s Imran Khan and while he admits that he ‘couldn’t get enough confirmation’ about it, he says that there has been a ‘decent bit of chatter’ regarding the possibility.

From what he’s heard, WB Discovery would sell the studios (NetherRealm, Rocksteady, Avalanche etc.,) and then license its IPs to other games companies. So, rather than make new DC or Harry Potter games in-house it would commission third party studios to develop them instead.

Aside from the obvious suspects like Microsoft and Sony, other companies who have supposedly shown an interest are EA, Tencent, Take-Two, NetEase, and PUBG Corporation.

Interested parties include EA, Take-Two, Microsoft, Sony, Tencent, Netease, and PUBG Corp. WBD wants to sell studios and license IP, supposedly.

— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) April 29, 2022

Apparently, these discussions may not even be new. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann claims to have heard similar talk ‘off and on for a while.’

There were also rumours last year of Microsoft buying Rocksteady and NetherRealm from Warner Bros., courtesy of insider Jeff Grubb.

This does go against what WB Discovery has said before though, about it ‘bolstering’ gaming, especially in terms of focusing on DC characters that aren’t Batman.

When this was mentioned to Khan he argued, ‘You can say anything, especially if saying so makes you look like an unwilling seller in negotiations. The appearance of being willing to walk away because you wouldn’t lose anything by doing so is useful.’

In short, WB could only be saying this in order to play hard to get and coax companies like Microsoft and Sony into offering even more money for them.

If this is the case, it’s unclear how this will affect future gaming projects, such as Monolith Productions’ Wonder Woman game (which currently lacks a release date) and Rocksteady’s Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League (which is out next year).

This could also explain why NetherRealm is believed to be making Mortal Kombat 12 next, instead of Injustice 3. Since if the developer gets sold it wouldn’t have automatic access to DC’s characters.

That said, it likely wouldn’t get to take the Mortal Kombat franchise with it either, although that’s less certain, since, unlike DC, the franchise is less successful as a movie property.

You can say anything, especially if saying so makes you look like an unwilling seller in negotiations. The appearance of being willing to walk away because you wouldn’t lose anything by doing so is useful.

— Imran Khan (@imranzomg) April 29, 2022

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