Batman and Mortal Kombat could become Xbox exclusives as WB Games up for sale
EA, Activision, 2K, and Microsoft are all apparently interested in buying the Warner Bros. game business, including developer Rocksteady.
Although their output in the last few years has been disappointingly minimal, the video games division of Warner Bros. has risen to become one of the biggest, and most accomplished, publishers in the business, but recently it was revealed that they’re up for sale.
WB Games are part of the wider Warner Bros. company, which itself is owned by American telecom AT&T. And the problem is that AT&T are currently $154 billion in debt and selling Warner’s video game division would help balance the books (although, really, the dent it would make is so minor it’s probably just to show shareholders they’re trying).
Ordinarily it wouldn’t really matter who bought them but according to website The Information one of the front runners is Microsoft, which means the games could end up as Xbox exclusives.
That doesn’t mean DC Comics, Harry Potter, and Lego would belong to Microsoft, just the ability to publish games based on them, but it would be down to Microsoft, unless there’s some stipulation in the sale, as to whether they were exclusives or not.
Microsoft has been in this position before though, with Minecraft, which they kept multiformat in order to reap the rewards from other formats.
That’s less likely for many of Warner’s more hardcore gaming franchises though, which could become an important draw for Xbox, which has been criticised all generation for not having better exclusives.
As well as Microsoft, other interested parties include EA, Activision Blizzard, and 2K. If one of them bought WB Games it would likely mean no obvious change from a customer’s point of view, but the whole idea of selling the division means that, apart from Mortal Kombat, WB Games would no longer be part of the same company that owns the licences.
Part of the deal would, no doubt, be to keep exclusive access to those licences but it all suddenly gets very complicated, compared to Warner themselves just making their own games.
The other complication is it’s still not clear exactly what WB Games are working on right now, as they were allegedly going to announce a bunch of games at E3 this June, before it got cancelled.
Rumours suggest though that they not only have a new Batman game underway, but also a Suicide Squad game by Rocksteady (WB Games owns the developer, who together with NetherRealm would be sold alongside everything else), a Harry Potter role-playing game, and, a little further down the line, a new Mortal Kombat and Injustice.
The only major game they have officially announced at the moment is Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which was delayed from last year and currently doesn’t have a release date.
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