• Joe Allen

WarnerMedia-Discovery Merger: But what about the games?

It has long been rumoured that AT&T was looking to sell its interests in WB Games – and now the rumours seem to have been at least partially true.

It was announced Monday 17th May that the US telecoms giant have a deal to sell WarnerMedia, which is to merge with Discovery. By combining news and entertainment assets such as CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, Warner Bros.’ movie studio, and streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+ under one roof, AT&T will give rise to a new competitor in the online streaming market.

However, this has left many gamers scratching their heads about what this means for WB Games and its many subsidiaries.

WB Games owns 11 individual studios; amongst them are Rocksteady (Batman: Arkham and the upcoming Suicide Squad), Monolith Productions (Shadow of Mordor), Avalanche Software (Hogwarts Legacy), TT Games (Lego Games), NetherRealm (Mortal Kombat) and WB Games Montreal (Gotham Knights).

Each of these subsidiaries has experienced huge successes with their franchises, but which companies will remain under WB Games is uncertain.

A spokesperson claimed “Some of the gaming arm will stay with AT&T and some will go with the new company.”

Given that WarnerMedia owns DC Comics, and that Discovery CEO David Zaslav has said characters like Batman and Superman will be important to the newly merged company, it seems likely Rocksteady and WB Games Montreal, who work with DC franchises, will move to the new company.

But what will happen with other developers is unclear; will AT&T retain these other developers, or sell them separately? There has already been interest from other companies such as Activision and EA in purchasing WB Games as a whole – if the subsidiary developers were available to purchase separately, external companies may well see this as a golden opportunity to acquire the developers and their franchises.

With the deal not set to go through until mid-2022, there is plenty of time for decisions to be made and the implications of the merger for beloved franchises like Mortal Kombat, Middle Earth and the Lego Games will become clearer.