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Warner Bros. addressing "volatile" AAA console space with live services, mobile free-to-play

The gaming business of Warner Bros. Discovery has been historically focused on AAA console games, but the company’s CEO and president of global streaming and games JB Perrette wants to change that.

As reported by GameSpot, Perrette shared a bit about his vision for the gaming business yesterday at the Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom Conference, starting with a nod toward mixed reality headsets and the metaverse.

“We see the world and whether it be VR devices, the Vision Pro, the virtual world, who knows exactly how it evolves, but certainly those types of platforms are only going to increase in scale and adoption,” Perrette said. “And having 11 owned studios where we’re not just a publisher of games but actually a developer of games, we think is a differentiative asset for us.”

Perrette said most of WB’s games business to date has been driven by four separate franchises – Mortal Kombat, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, and the DC Universe – each of which is a billion-dollar business in and of itself.

“The challenge we’ve had is our business historically [in games] has been very AAA console based,” Perrette said. “That’s a great business when you have a hit like Harry Potter, it makes the year look amazing. And when you don’t have a release or unfortunately we also have disappointments – we just released Suicide Squad this quarter which was not as strong – it just makes it very volatile.”

Perrette had two main answers to address that volatility, the first of which was expanding into mobile and multiplatform free-to-play games, “which could give us a much better and more consistent set of revenue.”

The company will move fairly quickly on that front, with Perrette noting there are mobile free-to-play games expected to launch later this year that it hopes will start building on that goal.

The second way WB hopes to address the volatility of its gaming business is through live services.

“So rather than just launching a one-and-done console game, how do we develop a game around for example, Hogwarts Legacy or Harry Potter, that is a live service where people can come in and live and work and build and play in that world on an ongoing basis,” Perrette said.

Perrette noted that the company’s new gaming strategy is still at an earlier stage of development than its efforts to overhaul the streaming Max business, but he expects this strategic focus to result in more growth from the gaming side of the business sometime in the 2025-2027 time frame.

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