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AT&T is reportedly looking to sell the Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gaming division for around $4 billion

Batman: Arkham Knight
Batman: Arkham Knight (Image credit: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • AT&T is the parent company of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment consists of studios like NetherRealm and Rocksteady.
  • According to a new report, AT&T is looking Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

According to a report from CNBC, AT&T is looking to sell off its Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment gaming division. This includes several studios such as NetherRealm, Rocksteady and Warner Bros. Montreal in a deal that CNBC's sources claim is valued around $4 billion.

These studios have worked on games such as the Arkham Batman games and the Mortal Kombat series. Activision-Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take-Two Interactive are all reportedly interested, though no specific deal has been made as yet.

This deal is especially interesting as there is a long-rumored Batman game from Warner Bros. Montreal that has yet to be revealed. WB Games is reportedly taking part in Summer Game Fest, though no specific titles have been mentioned. WB was also reportedly planning an E3 conference before E3 2020 was canceled.

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Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

16 Comments
  • Holy Phil Batman! Someone contact Phil spencer and have him tell Amy hood and Sataya, to open the iron bank. Sony has Spider-man and Microsoft will have the The Dark knight.
  • Was my first thought... but that price!
  • Personally I thought their games were mediocre at best. I imagine that AT&T is just selling the studios, not the rights to any of the Warner Bros IPs. AT&T was probably disappointed by the sales of the games compared to how much potential they think they have.
  • @TheChief
    Are you serious? I would have thought a XB gamer would rather see MS invest $4b to create a new studio and make NEW games for them. Not buy 3rd party studios so that these 3rd party games are not available for other gamers... And all that for what? Bragging rights?
    Are you interested in games or in silly console war & fanboy fights?
  • They would come to most devices (PC, Xbox and streaming). Just not PS or Nintendo devices. I think that is fair trade off for most gamers. Better then letting Activsion or EA get their hands on the studios and IP then turn around to dismante everytihing into a pile of goo like the always do. And to put it into persepective if Sony bought WB they would only make it available to one endpoint. their console. Plus building a studio from the ground up sounds great but it is difficult longer term process. Much easier to grab competent third party studios (e.g. Ninja Theory for Xbox or Insomniac for PS). But in the end $4 billion isn't worth it if there is no DC IP content deal that also comes along with the purchase (at least the IP of the Batman/Superman universe). In fact as a compromise have WB include Harry Potter gaming rights and make a deal that it would always be multi-platform like Minecraft is.
  • I don't know if it's "most devices". It'll probably just be XB and PC. But read my reply to Siang.
    I don't think Sony or Nintendo are likely to ever invest $4b for this.
    Also I wouldn't say MS are that much better than Activision and EA. MS have been one of the pioneer of microtransactions, have been one of the main publishers pushing for that & lootbox this generation and are still doing all of these on their major franchise...
    Again read my reply to Siang. It's not just about building new studios but just expanding existing one. Investing on new teams at 343 or coalition so that they work on new IPs. Try to revive so many of those old franchise that MS own through Rare... There is so much that can be done with $4b.
    And the WB games are more than likely going to still be available for XB users. Sure it's easier to just pay up for studios, but let's look it from the point of view of a gamer. That money isn't invested into gaming. It's money that is going to some shareholder of some non-gaming company.
    Wouldn't it be better that MS invest that money directly into gaming?
    As a gamer, the only way I see buying studios as a positive is if the studio was dying or if the idea is to help build a small studio so that it becomes a major one, producing much better games.
    Buying an already established big studio is just transfer of money between shareholders. Money that is not invested in making games.
  • I'm not sure such large studios is the target of Team Xbox acquisitions. But you never know and exceptions are always made. Not sure this will happen with a $4 billion dollar asking price. But having MK and KI under the same house could be very interesting and of course a proven studio in rocksteady to keep making batman games. Doubt this will happen though.
  • I'ld also love to see Team Xbox gettin' their hands on MK and the Batman series and make new IPs go exclusively Xbox (and maybe Xbox Play Anywhere) since Sony went all-out last year grabbin' Insomniac and with it the likes of Ratchet & Clank, the Spiderman IPs and of course our well-loved Sunset Overdrive. I think this a chance which MS Xbox should take to gain a rather bigger 2020 Momentum. This would make the gamer community on all bases go insanely nuts. Can someone please start a petition and spam them good folks at MS Xbox via Twitter until it's too late??? Thank you...
  • The "gamer community" or the "fanboy community"?
    Seriously, why are you guys always trying to make it a stupid console war? Shouldn't you want MS to invest $4b to make their own studios or CREATE their own games and IPs, instead of trying to buy 3rd party games and have them "exclusives" just for bragging rights in a stupid console war?
    I think it's time to ask yourself, are you a fanboy wanting ammo or are you a gamer wanting games?
    What's your priority here?
  • I would love a MK Vs KI game though... They could distribute on every platform for all I care... But this ain't happening any time soon if they are not under the same roof... With a batman character just for the *** of it 😂
    I'ain't jealous of PS and I never bought one... All I care is what's on XB and PC if it's on PS good for them if not too bad but I'd always support more sugar for XB because I own it the rest I couldn't care less one way or the other...
  • @JMV
    So your whole point is the hope of a possible game that could come?
    Let's not forget we're talking about MS here. The studio that has loads of Rare IPs that can be revived. $4b used here means they are less likely to use more money in making new games. I mean we're talking about MS investing $4b here. And that is not counting the cost of that game.
    It's $4b that is going out of the pockets of a gaming company and straight into those of shareholders of a non-gaming company.
    Money that could be invested in making games that is not invested in gaming.
    So much can be fone with $4b. Expanding existing studios. Investing on new teams at 343 or coalition so that they work on new IPs. Try to revive so many of those old franchise that MS own through Rare... Expand all studios that they recently bought so that they make more games for you guys. If MS buys this, there will probably be a lot less games for XB gamers than if they didn't and invest the money on making their own games. Even if you want to be selfish and only think about you and the XB community. Wouldn't you & the XB community stand to get a lot more if that $4b is invested into making games?
  • "Seriously, why are guys always trying to make it a stupid console war?" Because it has been a stupid console war for decades. i mean i, as selfish as i am, ain't ready to go out buy each console to play the games i would love and like to play the games i want to play and since Xbox is more open-minded to make their game list go multi-plat, Sony on the other hand (and for the sake of letting people know that if they want to enjoy a special game to their bitter end (first) they have to invest their money on their installment) wouldn't do so, what i respect on the one hand, on the other one this creates the feeling/is the definition of the console war. The games Xbox is creating via Xbox Studios aren't that bad (to some extent), Sony PS on the other side of life has IPs (and i mentioned some before) like Ratchet & Clank, Spiderman, God of War, Uncharted, Last of Us etc. and those are also games i would like to get my hands on, so why isn't Sony more open-hearted from the very beginning and let some of their IPs go multi-plat? A worst case scenario could also be Sony getting their grips on WBIE an from that point make games like Mortal Kombat or Batman also parts of their exclusive list. I really think that, even if Team Xbox were going to buy WBIE, those games would be playable on all devices not just on the XB, but that are just my two cents. Still, why don't i opt-in in buying a Sony PS, because me as the fanboy who i am like the MS/Xbox envirement (out of the missing Groove/Onedrive funcionality) and the looks and feeling of the devices and accessoires a little better than Sony's definition of it. Before i switched to Xbox, i owned the PS 2 and 3 for years, and i must still admit even if Sony got the better games/exclusives, Xbox worked better for me. So to close things of and answer the last part of the your question… I do want to play all the games i would like to play on "one" console, but since their is a console war out there, i hope to also keep and get new IPs by XB buying (old ones/studios) and/or creating new ones. That's what i think, that's how i feel about it… I hope all of you have great and sunny sunday… :-)
  • @Siang
    I think you got to think it through here. Few flaws in what you posted.
    If you're main fear is that you think Sony will pay $4b for this. That's highly unlikely. Look at the finances of Sony, they can hardly afford it. Plus that's not what they usually do. They don't pay huge sum of money to buy big studios.
    You say that if MS gets it, those games will be on all devices. I think that again is highly unlikely. Sure they have maintained Minecraft on PS4, but MS hardly makes games for PS or Nintendo platforms.
    If you're talking about making these games also available on PC than why do you care about that since you play on XB?
    ------------------------------
    Anyway, I need to talk about exclusives here. The reason Sony and Nintendo invest huge amount of money in making quality games is to sell systems and to get people in. The main goal is not to make money but to sell systems.
    That's why both can afford to have games like Horizon ZD, or Zelda: Breath of the wild go without any microtransactions or lootbox. Studios are given more creative freedom. We've seen examples of it, Guerilla, ND, Sucker Punch all trying their hands on different franchise despite successful IPs like Killzone, Uncharted or Infamous...
    You got to understand why critic consider that Sony/Nintendo have the better games.
    MS on the other hand is trying to do two things at a time. They are trying to do just like any other publisher. Design games so they can make the most money out of people + try to give the illusion that their games are "exclusives". They want to use their games to sell consoles and their service. And at the same time they want the money from Steam users.
    And as a result they have been all over the place. With the exception of Forza, it's been tough. Decline of Halo/Gears compared to previous version... Not just that they have been pushing hard for microtransactions/lootbox/Pay or you'll get the game late edition... This and also games as a service. And also so often misleading consumers by lying about exclusivity of games... Like I said I'd rather have these console makers to invest money in making quality games to get people into their ecosystem than one that pretends to do that.
    ------------------------------
    Now about the whole console war thing. Let's forget Sony/Nintendo or the console war for a minute.
    Let's look at this from a XB gamer and not a fanboy.
    Wouldn't it be better that this money is re-invested in making new games for the XB community?
    Case 1:
    MS pays 4b to buy this. They would need to invest more money to make new games.
    And for what? Future games are coming to XB platforms. XB gamers get new WB games.
    Case 2:
    MS doesn't buy this. They use that 4b to make new games/IPs for their customers. They could invest more money in bringing back to life some of the dead IPs they own.
    XB gamers get ALL these new games + they'll still get the third party WB games since it's highly unlikely that Sony/Nintendo invest 4b for this.
    As a gamer, I think the choice is easy.
    ------------------------------
    Coming back to this console war. You know there doesn't need to be a console war. We are not in any obligation to limit ourselves.
    Ok you may hate Sony, their execs, their fanboys or entire community for whatever reason, but as a gamer we shouldn't hate gaming platforms or quality games. The only one who loses here with this restriction is you. I enjoyed games from Sony to MS or Nintendo, to PC exclusives this generation.
    Played whatever I wanted to play. Sure I have controller or UI preferences but that doesn't stop me from playing games because that's the priority here.
    I really don't see a lot of reason why a real gamer would restrict himself.
    If it's a question of budget, or even possible hate of Sony & it's community, you can get a PS4 and it's game used.
    Or even better, if you have a friend with a PS4 and no XB, just ask to exchange consoles + exclusives for 1-2 months.
    You don't need sure you'll enjoy yourself playing those games and not building hate that often happens when fighting console war. I always say fanboysim is anti-gaming.
    I think we need to remember what we are first. We're gamers first and games should be our priority.
  • My priority is content. I don't care where it comes from. But lets be honest. When Xbox buys a third-party studio those games those stuidos make will be on many devices: Xbox, PCs and streaming to any device that has the app and avaialble for purchase on PC outside of their own store. Compare that to when Sony buys something like Insomniac. Those games will likely never make their way anywhere but the consoles (at least not for a long while after they are released and worn out their welcome on the PS). And if my choice is between Microsof,t who supports multiple end points for all their game releases, or EA/Acivitision/2K who tend to ruin studios and IP or Sony who is focused on just the console then I am going to go with Microsoft as steward for those studios and actually supporting a broad section of gamung outlets (just not other consoles). What Microsoft are doing for mutlple gaming endpoint trumps what I see from Sony or the bigger game publishers do with either one device support or locked behind their own paywalls.
  • Everyone here calling for Microsoft to make this acquisition, but I think that would be a bad move. At $4 billion it's way overpriced, especially considering it does not come with the Batman IP like people are assuming. At best you'd be buying three decent developers (Rocksteady, NetherRealm, and Monolith), which would probably include the Mortal Kombat IP (which is redundant since Microsoft already owns a valid competitor in Killer Instinct). And there's nothing preventing the talented employees on these good-but-not-great studios from leaving. Four billion bucks is way too much for three good-but-not-great studios, especially since Sony got Insomniac for a measly $229 million and that came with IP.
  • I agree without some deal that would include the rights to the DC and HP IP it would not be worth the money. Buit, if it did I be 100% on board for the purchase. And when I talk to the Microsoft board and Satay tomorrow I am sure the will listen and follow my reccommendations. :) Additionally, like you said, those studios are farily talented on their own. Rocksteady would be advantages move because they are in the region of several other Xbox studios that they could be parntering up (e.g. Playground or Rare). As for employees leaving. Thre is nothing stopping anybody you hire for new studio or current studio from leaving the next day. But, generally having a job right now is not something most people are going to throw away. As for Insomniac most of the IP that was important to Sony was already owned by them. Both Spider-man and Ratchet were Sony owned IP they were just games made by Insomniac for Sony. It is not like Insomiac had a large IP catalog. If you look at what they have made over the years they primarily made Ratchet, Spyro and noew Spider-Man games. And Spyro is owned by Activsion not Sony/Insomniac. They have a lot of little games (especially mobile) and some very forgettable games as well. What Sony got that they didn't really already own that was of interest was Sunset Overdrive and Resitance. So Sony really just bought the company for the personnel not the rights to the games they already owned. I just hope the employees aren't leaving in mass. /s