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Warner Bros. Acquires Turbine 57

Posted by Soulskill
from the playing-catch-up dept.
NNUfergs writes with news that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group has acquired Turbine Inc., creators of Lord of the Rings Online, Asheron's Call, and Dungeons & Dragons Online. Terms were not disclosed, but the Boston Globe claims the price was somewhere around $160 million. "Warner Bros. Interactive has bought a number of game development houses in recent years, in a bid to become a major power in video gaming. In 2007, the company purchased TT Games, a British firm that develops family-friendly products like Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman. In 2009, Warner Bros. bought the assets of bankrupt Chicago game company Midway, maker of the popular Mortal Kombat games. And earlier this year, it acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, another British developer, which created the hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum. ... Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings novels. Turbine holds an exclusive license to make an Internet-based game based on the books, while last year, Warner Bros. won a license to make non-Internet-based Tolkien video games."
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Warner Bros. Acquires Turbine

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  • "I view this as Hollywood coming to Boston," said Turbine's chief executive Jim Crowley, who said the deal underscores Greater Boston's increasing prominence as a center for video game development.

    Ha. I view this as a move to capitalize off of the upcoming Hobbit movies [wikipedia.org].

    Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings novels.

    Well, Warner Bros is the parent company of New Line Cinema [wikipedia.org], The Lord of the Rings film studio. Although I'm uneasy that Warner could roll out trashy videogames, I don't think it's too evil for studios to try to retain those kinds of rights as long as they exercise them and I suspect WB will.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Rogerborg (306625)
      What the... they're acquiring "intellectual property" rights in order to actually use them to create something, instead of to sue other people for creating things? How deliciously old fashioned!
    • by shnull (1359843)
      i fear i might come to view this as the end of DDO :|
  • by Anonymous Coward

    D@#%... and I enjoyed playing D&D Online. Once WB gets control, you just know that the cost is going to go up (from base free), and the quality will go to #33L.

    • Me: "What's the task?"
      Quest NPC: "I need ya to collect ten rat tails to prove that yer worthy of this task."
      Me: "You can't possibly be serious!"
      DM: "The entire table bursts out in laughter." "I'm just poking fun here."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        Seriously though, if a full blown warrior with a bow and axe comes by some random dude "Got any work for me?" it is FAR more likely to be something like "Nice axe you got there, I need someone to chop me some firewood." or "Any good with that bow? I'd pay good money for some pelts" than "I need you to on a sacred quest for the Sword of Doom in the haunted castle of Skul-Ugir". Realism is not very desirable in an RPG.

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      I couldn't help but wonder if they bought it out to squash the free model, although it sounds like the theatrical interests are there too.

    • by Targon (17348)

      DDO was a normal pay to play MMORPG up until the Free to Play option was added back in September. With that in mind, I don't see that DDO would lose the free to play option after all the good it did for the game in terms of profitability. There are potential problems, but after thinking about it, there really is more chance for this being a positive for the game rather than a negative. At the very least, DDO MAY get a better working budget, rather than having LotR getting the most attention.

    • DDO had great content, what there was of it. In the past you had to repeat the same content over and over in order to level, and forget about alts... they did all the exact same stuff over again.

      Having large financial pockets like WB might be good for it. Unless WB kills it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by vegiVamp (518171)
      D@#% ? #33L ?

      What are you, some kind of DAMN pc gnome from HELL ?
    • by Orbijx (1208864) *

      Except that, if memory serves me, DDO started as pay to play, and ended up as a micropayment game because it wasn't enough of a cash cow with subscriptions.
      Why break what works?

    • by Darinbob (1142669)
      Has any MMO game company that was acquired by another actually ended up doing better over time? Or more generally, has any game company of any sort done better?

      Sort of has me worried. There's always an exception where someone might to well after being bought out. But I can't help but imagine that WB will note that they have some redundant job positions that could be removed (artists, modelers, designers, qa, IT, etc).

      What I like most about LotRO is that it feels like Lord of the Rings books and much of t
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @06:52AM (#31920482)

    Is going to get the fucking shaft, just you watch. Since it has nothing to do with Tolkien it's going to get canned.

    But hey I can dream right? Maybe they'll pour money into it and put out an expansion and merge some servers right? ...Right? :*(

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Maybe they'll pour money into it and put out an expansion and merge some servers right? ...Right? :*(

      No.

      Also, Jeffrey Bewkes and Barry Meyer say "Fuck you."

    • by NinePenny (856053)

      I would hope they could give it some love...but I'm not holding my breath. Ive been playing AC since 01 and its been a damn ghost town over the last couple years... the server merge is sorely needed.

    • Hold your horses (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Turbine is not becoming a Tolkien studio, the article just mentions the side-effect of this deal making them the sole proprietor of Lord of the Rings media.

      Nothing will happen to Asherons Call. It's still going, and will continue to do so, just like DDO will not increase their prices (as a commenter above mentioned).

      All this does is give Turbine more revenue to play with and more potential options for future projects.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nedry57 (951108)

      I still play Asheron's Call casually and like it, especially with the new low level experience. AC is the only MMO world that feels like a real world to me, not just a bunch of different theme park zones put together. That said, I'm no fanboy; it has had (and I'm sure still has) a number of flaws. I hope that it sticks around, or that someday another MMO will come close to the experience of the AC world but with a modernized client.

      I've played other games like WoW and LoTRO, and enjoyed them for different

  • I read (Score:1, Funny)

    by dandart (1274360)
    Ahh, I read "Warner Bros. Acquires Turbine" and thought "That's nice of them wanting to save the environment"...
  • Atari (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crow (16139) on Wednesday April 21, 2010 @07:59AM (#31920884) Homepage Journal

    I hope they do better with Turbine than they did with Atari.

  • LOTRO had quite a bit of hype behind it on launch, but never really took off (wasn't sufficiently different from WoW to make an impact ...)

    LotR:Conquest could have been great was rushed out before it was finished ...

    LotR:White Council died quietly.

    They weren't spectacular, but my favorites Battle for Middle-Earth I and II (from back when EA held the license) were pretty solid RTS's, since they were essentially reskins of C&C. Considering what EA have done to C&C since then, its probably a good thing

    • LOTRO had quite a bit of hype behind it on launch, but never really took off (wasn't sufficiently different from WoW to make an impact ...)

      What makes you say LOTRO didn't really take off? Multiple expansions later, it's still a very cool game with tons of players (though Turbine doesn't release subscriber numbers). If you mean that it isn't as popular as WoW, I'm sure you're right. But with 11 active servers (including decent European presence) and a 4 year run so far, I'd argue that it definitely "took

  • Let's not forget it was Warner that bough Atari in the 80's and proceeded to run it into the ground. They certain bring lot's of capital and ability to score popular media franchises. They also bring to the table a slew of studio heads and producers who want to get their fingers in everything.

  • it's been a long and storied run
  • Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved Lord of the Rings novels.

    Interesting, but does New Line still own the movie rights? I've been waiting on a Return of the King sequel forever, and they sure are taking their sweet ass time getting around to it!

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