Warner Bros. to "drive engagement" by moving its games to a live service model

Scorpion and Frost in Mortal Kombat 1
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Warner Brothers Discovery CEO David Zaslav has revealed that the company is committed to "transforming" its existing video game franchises into live service products. 

During a recent earnings call, Zaslav made clear the company's intention to move away from "three-four year release schedules" and towards "gameplay through live services [...] and free-to-play extensions with the goal to have more players spending more time on platforms" (via VGC).

"We are currently under scale and see significant opportunity to generate greater post-purchase revenue," he continued. 

For those not in the know, Warner Bros. Games is a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Discovery and is responsible for a wide range of beloved series including the Batman: Arkham titles, Mortal Kombat, and the Lego series. 

"We've got proven IP and franchises, the world-class studios and publishing talent and we intend to continue to invest more capital and more resources into the business," continued Zaslav. "We've led with multiple key franchises, each of which is [a] $1 billion gaming property. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, DC, which is mainly Batman today and Mortal Kombat."  

It's no exaggeration to call this selection of franchises "key", either. The Batman: Arkham games are well-regarded action-thrillers, while the Mortal Kombat series has accounted for some of the best fighting games ever made. Mortal Kombat 1, which was released back in September, was a successful return to form. In our review, we gave the title four stars, praising its "thoughtfully designed roster", deep mechanics, and "compelling story mode."

The earnings call also revealed that video games have become "critical" to Warner Brothers Discovery's ongoing business strategy. "[Video] games [are a] very valuable asset for the company with a great deal of potential for growth. [Warner Bros.] Games has consistently enjoyed among the highest returns on investment of any of our businesses. And while we're smaller than some of the leading pureplay gaming companies, our operating margins are comparable to the best of the public companies."

No matter the ramifications of this move towards live service, it's clear that Warner Bros. Games is here to stay.  

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Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.