Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, David Zaslav outlined some ambitious plans during the recent earnings call and claimed that the company is concentrated on turning its most popular franchises into service games.
During the most recent earnings call, David Zaslav discussed the vision to evolve major franchises like “Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones,” “DC” (primarily Batman), and “Mortal Kombat” into billion-dollar gaming entities, emphasizing a shift towards live service gaming experiences.
According to Zaslav, the strategy entails transitioning from the traditional console and PC-based releases, which occur every three to four years, towards more persistent, always-on gameplay. This involves transforming into live services, spanning multiple platforms, and incorporating free-to-play extensions.
Zaslav said, “The goal [is] to have more players spending more time on more platforms. Ultimately, we want to drive engagement and monetization of longer cycles and at higher levels. We have specific capabilities. We are currently under scale and see significant opportunity to generate greater post-purchase revenue.”
Zaslav’s newfound confidence in Warner Bros.’s gaming endeavors stems from the success of two key releases in 2023: Hogwarts Legacy and Mortal Kombat 1. While these titles may not have secured the top spots in terms of sales or critical acclaim in 2023, they did rake in substantial revenue.
Hogwarts Legacy, the Harry Potter RPG, emerged as Europe’s best-selling game in the initial half of 2023. Following its launch on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on February 10, it swiftly exceeded 12 million copies sold within the first two weeks. Additionally, Mortal Kombat 1, released last month, garnered positive critical reception and nearly clocked three million copies in sales, as per Zaslav.
Now, although Warner Bros. has ventured into the live service gaming domain, their initial forays have not been without challenges. The reception for Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, their sole confirmed live service game from Warner Bros. was underwhelming, and hence it raises questions about the viability of Zaslav’s expansive plans, especially considering Sony’s decision to scale back on their own live service game offerings.
However, only time will reveal the outcome of Warner Bros.’s endeavor to transform its flagship franchises into live-service gaming experiences.
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