Race for Warner Bros gaming unit will focus on next-generation themes, says GlobalData

Following reports that AT&T is considering selling its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gaming division;

Rupantar Guha, Senior Analyst for Thematic Research at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Licenses to develop games based on the DC Comics and Harry Potter franchises are the main prize for potential bidders Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts (EA), Take-Two Interactive and Microsoft. Any companies looking to develop new services such as cloud gaming will be particularly keen to win the race.

“Microsoft is expected to be an early bidder – an acquisition would benefit its new Xbox Series X consoles and xCloud platform. Following its partnership with AT&T for 5G, cloud and edge computing solutions, the company will be looking to build on this relationship as part of its strategy to outflank Sony’s PS5 consoles and PS Now cloud gaming service. Microsoft has acquired several game studios in recent years as it seeks to expand its library of first-party games. The DC products acquired through Warner’s gaming unit would allow Microsoft to challenge Sony’s Disney-owned exclusives.

“EA will be primarily looking to add Warner games and AT&T’s 5G capabilities to its upcoming cloud gaming service, Project Atlas. Its experience of licensing gaming properties from Disney and proven ability to create compelling content around them will be a factor for AT&T to consider.

“Activision Blizzard has less experience than EA in game licensing and lags behind Microsoft in game services, but the company should consider a move for the Warner operation to expand its role-playing games line-up with Mortal Kombat and Batman titles.

“Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive has plans to launch 93 games over the next five years, of which 21 are planned specifically for mobile. With less experience in mobile gaming, it will need titles that can replicate the popularity of Fortnite Battle Royale and Call of Duty Mobile, so the addition of Warner games such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Game of Thrones: Conquest to its line-up will help attract users faster than new, non-franchise titles.”

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