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Microsoft Expresses Interest in Acquiring Warner Game Unit

haxan7

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May 9, 2016
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This article just came up as an etrade alert for me:


Microsoft has expressed interest in acquiring the games division of Warner Bros., the publisher behind popular game franchises based on Batman, Harry Potter and other characters, according to two people familiar with the situation.

An acquisition of the business, which consists of game development studios scattered around the U.S., Canada and the U.K., would help Microsoft expand the game-making capabilities of its Xbox group. But Warner’s parent, AT&T, hasn’t yet decided whether to sell the business. It is weighing the possibility as it looks at ways of paying down its $154 billion in debt, which stems partly from its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner, now known as WarnerMedia.

Along with Microsoft, other suitors for the game group include Take-Two Interactive Software, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, said one of the people. The people cautioned that no deal is imminent. Investment bank LionTree is helping AT&T field possible suitors for the group, the people said.

Microsoft’s interest in the Warner games group hasn’t been reported previously. Earlier this month, CNBC first reported that AT&T was in discussions to sell the game unit—which it said could fetch around $4 billion—and that Take-Two, EA and Activision had expressed interest in it. It couldn’t be learned how much Microsoft is willing to pay for the Warner unit.

Spokespersons for Microsoft, WarnerMedia, EA and Take-Two had no comment, while Activision didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Microsoft plans to release a new generation of its games console, the Xbox Series X, this holiday season and has said it will hold an online event later this month to discuss games for the machine coming from its own development studios, including a new installment of its Halo franchise.

Microsoft acknowledged a misfire in its game plans last month, when it announced plans to shut down Mixer, a service for streaming video of game sessions that never approached the scale of its far bigger rival, Amazon’s Twitch. Microsoft reached an agreement with Facebook to move streamers from Mixer to a Facebook gaming service.

Any deal for the Warner game unit is likely to involve a licensing deal for the intellectual property that undergirds its most popular franchises. Many of Warner’s best-known games are based on characters from its film, television and DC comics units, including Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Batman. It also makes a popular series of games based on Lego toy characters.

Two months ago, Jason Kilar, a veteran executive of Amazon and Hulu, took over the leadership of WarnerMedia. So far, his biggest focus has been the recent launch of HBO Max, the new streaming service from the media company. Kilar may well have a view about the value of the games unit, however, and whether AT&T should keep it.
 

Shin

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No Amazon in the mix, considering someone from Amazon is now responsible for WG.
 

R3claimer117

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IMO, if they did buy WB, there is no way they would lock their games as XBOX Exclusives. There is too much money to be made by keeping everything multi-platform.

If anything it would be like what they did with Minecraft.
Not necessarily they can put those games on game pass for Xbox and PC that would be a reason for people to get game pass the value of game pass would go up exponentially.
 

Shin

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Interesting. Is Netherrealm studios tied to WB?
If Wikipedia correct this is what it looks like:

Subsidiaries
Publishing labels

  • Portkey Games was founded in 2017 as the publishing label for games set within the Wizarding World franchise.
Studios
  • Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City, Utah, founded in 1995, acquired and re-opened from The Walt Disney Company on January 24, 2017 after Disney Interactive Studios being closed in May 2016.[33]
  • Monolith Productions in Kirkland, Washington, founded in 1994, acquired in 2004.
  • NetherRealm Studios in Chicago, founded as Midway Games Chicago in 1988, acquired from Midway Games on July 27, 2009 and renamed in 2010.
  • Rocksteady Studios in London, founded in 2004 and majority stake acquired in February 2010.
  • TT Games in Knutsford, England, founded in 2005, acquired November 8, 2007.
    • Playdemic in Manchester, founded in 2010, acquired on February 8, 2017.[34]
    • Traveller's Tales in Knutsford, England, founded in 1989, reorganized as subsidiary of TT Games in 2005.
    • TT Animation
    • TT Fusion in Wilmslow, England, founded in 2005 as Embryonic Studios, reorganized as division by TT Games in 2007.
    • TT Games Publishing in Bristol, England, founded in 2003 as Giant Interactive Entertainment, reorganized as division as TT Games in 2005.
    • TT Odyssey in Brighton, founded in January 2018 as TT Games Brighton, renamed in March 2018.[37][38]
  • WB Games Boston in Needham, Massachusetts, founded in 1994, acquired in 2010.
  • WB Games Montréal in Montreal, founded in 2010.[21]
  • WB Games New York in Troy, New York, founded in 2017.[39]
  • WB Games San Diego in San Diego; founded in 2019.[40]
  • WB Games San Francisco in San Francisco, founded in 2013.[41]
Former studios
  • Snowblind Studios in Kirkland, Washington, founded in 1997, acquired in 2009. Merged into Monolith Productions in 2012.
  • Surreal Software in Kirkland, Washington, founded in 1995, acquired from Midway Games on July 27, 2009. Merged into Monolith Productions in 2010.
 

.Pennywise

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IN before Sony fanboys derail the thread


 

JLB

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IMO, if they did buy WB, there is no way they would lock their games as XBOX Exclusives. There is too much money to be made by keeping everything multi-platform.

If anything it would be like what they did with Minecraft.

Oh yeah, Microsoft would be 100% open to make those games available on Switch and Playstation.
As long as Nintendo and Sony allow Gamepass to work on their platforms. If not, good luck.
 

Barakov

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MK exclusive to Xbox. That would be crazy. Netherealm developing a new KI could be interesting. Ed Boon said the studio's next game wouldn't MK or Injustice so...........
 
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NonPhixion

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You'd be buying nothing more than talented studios and maybe Just Cause? DC/LOTR/Harry Potter will still be owned and licensed by WB.
 
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LordCBH

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Question:
Why would things like Harry Potter snd lord of the rings go with the studios? Surely Warner proper would retain those and just license them out to someone else, right?
 

JimiNutz

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Damn that'd have potential to be a big success for them.

KI vs MK could be cool.
A Green Lantern game would go with the whole Xbox 'green/black' colour scheme.
The Matrix is coming back soon - could lead to some cool game opportunities?

I'm sure MS would still keep some games multiplatform, especially the Lego games.
 
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VincentMatts

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Nice!



LOL .. what year is this? 2007? No one gives a wet fart about Hairy Pooter.



Nice grafix, repetitive gameplay ... nice IP nontheless

But those cant be all? 4billion for that?

Mortal Kombat, Shadow of War ... ok getting interesting.

Well, they wouldn't own batman, harry potter, LOTR, etc. But i assume that a deal can be made at the same time so that those can keep being licensed to those studios for a set amount of time. Which would be huge.

But knowing MS, they wouldnt even make them exclusive. Which to me would be pointless to buy them at that point.
 

God Enel

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I kinda feel that Mortal Kombat is a great franchise for take two.

though if MS buys them it’s gonna be good for the Xbox brand. Though they have KI and imho KI > MK
 

Bryank75

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I doubt Batman or any DC IP's would be included..... probably a separate deal. Any info on that?
 
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hemo memo

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IP's like Harry Potter, LOTR and DC universe are held by their parent company, so MS will never get them. This is like those Sony buying Leyou rumours.
Never going to happen.

Minecraft is still releasing on all platforms. Sometimes people on here think Microsoft and Sony are run by angry fanboys. Business and logic guys. C’mon.
 

Bryank75

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I kinda feel that Mortal Kombat is a great franchise for take two.

though if MS buys them it’s gonna be good for the Xbox brand. Though they have KI and imho KI > MK
KI and MK are very similar but they could have crossover games.... that's all I can think of.
 
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