You know, sometimes, you have to wait up to 3 to 5 years for your favourite console or PC game to be released? That's about to change, thanks to a move by U.S.-based entertainment company, Warner Bros.
According to Warner Bros. Discovery's CEO, David Zaslav in its 2023 Q3 earnings call, the company wants to turn its biggest franchises such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Batman, and Mortal Kombat – which traditionally had console and PC releases with three-to-four-year gaps, into a landscape featuring persistent gameplay via live services, cross-platform availability, and free-to-play expansions.
The objective? To engage a broader audience across various platforms, encouraging extended gameplay experiences.
But it does seem odd and ironic because there has been a string of underwhelming performances with live service games, and single-player experiences have been WB's strongest play in the gaming industry. Besides, its primary focus has been on delivering complete and traditional single-player experiences.
While the company occasionally released multiplayer games like TT Games' Lego series and Netherrealm Studios' Mortal Kombat and Injustice titles, its focus has leaned heavily toward single-player narratives. For example, its most popular title of the year – Hogwarts Legacy, with 15 million copies sold worldwide – is a single-player experience with no overt microtransactions or live service elements, according to GamesHub.
Also, there has been success with single-player titles such as Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum series, Monolith Productions' Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor series, and IO Interactive's Hitman franchise.
This decision for live-service game transformation comes despite past missteps in developing live-service games like MultiVersus which generated considerable interest during its open beta last summer but was temporarily taken offline earlier this year due to declining player numbers.
And the console and PC releases, Rocksteady's upcoming title, Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, received a somewhat lukewarm response from fans who expressed reservations about the game's live service elements, including a cosmetics-oriented battle pass.
Despite the success of Hogwarts Legacy, which performed well in sales and player hours, selling 12 million copies in two weeks, Warner Bros. still appears committed to pursuing live-service practices in the video game division.