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WB Explores Live Service Strategy Despite Suicide Squad Setback, Signals Move Beyond Traditional Triple-A Titles

Despite Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League’s lackluster critical and commercial reception, Warner Bros. Games is still planning to leverage the live service approach for their games in the future. At a recent Morgan Stanley speaking event, J.B. Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming and Games at Warner Bros. Discovery, outlined the company’s gaming strategy. She reiterated the studio’s plans to increase investment in free-to-play games, mobile titles, and the “games as a service” model. She also expressed skepticism regarding the “volatile” business of custom triple-A games on consoles.

Speaking at the recent Technology Media and Telecom Conference held by Morgan Stanley, Perette proposed a strategic move away from triple-A releases while reiterating Warner Bros.’ commitment to turning its greatest brands into live service games.

The issue we’ve had is that our industry has traditionally relied heavily on triple-A consoles. Having a hit like Harry Potter (Hogwarts Legacy) is fantastic for business because it elevates the entire year. Furthermore, it becomes extremely unpredictable when there isn’t a release, or regrettably, when there are setbacks like Suicide Squad, which was only released this quarter and wasn’t as successful, the executive stated.

Existing Warner Bros. properties like Mortal Kombat, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and DC, according to Perrette, gave the company a chance to diversify its product line beyond console games. “We believe there’s a chance to take those four franchises and create a much more comprehensive strategy, especially with regard to growing into the mobile and multi-platform free-to-play market, which can provide us with a much better and more reliable stream of income,” he stated. The executive declared that later this year, WB Games will release a number of free-to-play mobile games.

Due to lengthy production cycles and expensive development costs, WB Games appears to be losing faith in triple-A platform releases, even with the huge success of Hogwarts Legacy last year. However, the studio feels that a live service model can provide more constant revenue generation and ongoing engagement. Warner Bros. would likely try to build more of its current games around the live service model, according to Perette, who also hinted that a Hogwarts Legacy sequel might provide something similar. “How do we create a game around, say, Hogwarts Legacy or Harry Potter, that is a live service, where people can continue to live and work and build and play in that world on an ongoing basis, rather than just launching a one-and-done console game?” he said.

During an earnings call in November of last year, Warner Bros. had disclosed its plan to venture into the live service market. The business intended to turn its largest video game properties into long-term goods, according to statements made by WB CEO David Zaslav. Zaslav had stated at the time, “Ultimately, we want to drive engagement and monetization of longer cycles and at higher levels.”

Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the studio’s most recent triple-A film that used a live-action looter-shooter style, failed, but it doesn’t seem to be deterred. The game allegedly failed to live up to Warner Bros.’s expectations after its debut last month for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X. 208 users are currently playing the third-person shooter on Steam as of this writing, with a peak player count of little over 13,000 at one point in time. Kill the Justice League’s live service approach, along with its “baffling design choices, mundane mission structure, and unclear identity,” significantly hindered the game’s potential, according to our own 6/10 evaluation.

It appears that the games as a service concept has reached saturation as well, as multiple titles are vying for players’ attention. While well-known titles like Call of Duty and Fortnite have performed well, more recent games have had difficulty successfully implementing the paradigm. It also appears that highly commercialized live service games are becoming less popular with players.

With over 22 million copies sold, the single-player console game Hogwarts Legacy—which lacks live service features and microtransactions—became the best-selling title of the previous year.

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(This news report is from a syndicated feed. THND team members did not write or edit the content except for the headline.)





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