Warner Bros To Focus On Live Service Games Moving Forward

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Story Highlights
  • Various gaming studios are betting on the live service genre, including Warner Bros.
  • Warner Bros hopes to integrate microtransactions and pursue player retention through such games.
  • Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League is the first major part of this push.

Warner Bros owns a strong portfolio of comic-book IPs based on DC Comics. However, the studio has not been able to find much success in the gaming industry, apart from a few franchises like Batman Arkham and Injustice.

While Batman Arkham Asylum set the tone for future superhero games 14 years ago, the studio has shown little interest in creating games that could rival its influence. Instead, it appears to be moving in the opposite direction.

During its recent earnings call, CEO David Zaslav confirmed Warner Bros’ intentions to pivot toward live service gaming.

Why it matters: While the live service genre is easily the most lucrative in gaming, it comes with various inherent risks. Multiple live service games have failed in 2023 alone, highlighting the risky nature of this genre.

Batman Arkham Knight

The studio is looking to create games with elements like free-to-play gameplay, monetization, and high levels of engagement. Therefore, live service will be a major part of Warner Bros’ plans in the gaming industry.

David Zaslav stated that he wants to create games that include:

“More always-on gameplay through live service.”

This focus is already apparent in a game like Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League. While Rocksteady was primarily a single-player studio for nearly a decade, this entry will include elements like a Battle Pass and cosmetic microtransactions.

However, these parts of the game have been poorly received, leading to a delay earlier this year. Other games like Mortal Kombat 1 also appear to be taking this approach, recently receiving criticism over microtransactions.

Nonetheless, this seems to be the direction Warner Bros is headed in for most of its games.

Mortal Kombat 1

Unfortunately, this also means games like the Batman Arkham franchise will not show up often from the company.

With a developer like Rocksteady stuck making a live service title, we can’t see other developers experimenting with single-player games if this is the larger focus of the company.

Apart from Warner Bros, PlayStation is swiftly headed toward a future with plenty of live service offerings. However, the console manufacturer has had a tough time as well, reportedly looking to scale back some of its ambitions.

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