Amazon primed to scoop up The Lord of the Rings video game rights

Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings charging into battle
(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

The gaming and movie rights to The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are going up for sale, leaving investors in Hollywood and beyond ready to scoop up one of the biggest-ever literary and media franchises.

As reported by Variety, film production company Saul Zaentz Co. is auctioning off an array of gaming, movie, merchandising, live event, and theme park rights to various works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The holdings are projected to fetch close to $2 billion, with Amazon expected to be among those first in line to acquire them. Variety reports that Amazon will be looking to shore up its Middle-earth holdings as it prepares to release its new Tolkien TV show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

The sale doesn’t cover all rights to Tolkien’s works, however. Warner Bros. maintains some movie rights to The Lord of the Rings through its ownership of New Line Cinema, and produced a handful of Middle-earth video games over the last several years, including 2013’s Lego The Lord of the Rings and 2017’s Middle-earth: Shadow of War

It also doesn’t preclude the development of other video games set in The Lord of the Rings universe. Daedalic Entertainment is still working on a Gollum game, which was first announced back in 2019, while The Lord of the Rings Online is still standing after nearly 15 years.

Analysis: will Amazon make a Lord of the Rings video game?

Given the popularity and proven profitability of The Lord of the Rings name, we might expect Hollywood investors and other publishers will be clamoring to claim a piece of the Tolkien pie. The buzz surroundings Amazon’s upcoming TV show may very well convince the company that a bigger investment in the franchise will make for good business.

Should it scoop up the rights at auction there’s nothing to guarantee Amazon will produce a Lord of the Rings video game, but its past development activity suggests it has at least some interest in doing so. Only last year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon Gaming Studios had been co-developing a Lord of the Rings MMO with Chinese studio Leyou Technologies. However, following a dispute between Amazon and Leyou’s parent company, Tencent, the game was canceled partway through.

At that time, an Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg: “We love the Lord of the Rings IP, and are disappointed that we won’t be bringing this game to customers”.

Before that, Amazon Game Studios vice president Christoph Hartmann said “Tolkien’s Middle-earth is one of the richest fictional worlds in history, and it gives our team of experienced MMO developers - from the same studio developing New World - tremendous opportunity to play and create.”

If Amazon is to acquire The Lord of the Rings rights to feed its growing entertainment empire, the recent success it's had with New World might prompt it to also invest in a Tolkien video game. We may well see an Amazon logo stamped across The Fellowship somewhere down the line.

Callum Bains
Gaming News Writer

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games.