The Transform Technology Summits start October 13th with Low-Code/No Code: Enabling Enterprise Agility. Register now!

Electronic Arts held the Lord of the Rings license throughout the triumphant years of the Peter Jackson films. But apparently it has surrendered the rights back to Tolkien Enterprises, which in turn has given the license to Warner Bros., which has a game division.

The companies haven’t confirmed this account, which Variety reported. If true, then it would explain some things. EA recently released The Lord of the Rings: Conquest game to generally lousy reviews. Its Metacritic score (an aggregate of review scores) was an abysmal 57.

EA’s Pandemic Studios, which made the game, apparently had to ship it by the end of 2008. That may have resulted in a rush job. The game actually shipped in January, so Pandemic had a reprieve of a couple of weeks. I played the game all the way through, mostly because I’m a Lord of the Rings fan. But clearly most gamers were annoyed with the game play flaws (which I pointed out in my review).

It will be interesting to see if Warner Bros. does something with the license. Meanwhile, Turbine still has the rights to make online games based on Lord of the Rings books (although it hasn’t had rights to use the imagery from the Peter Jackson movies). Since Warner Bros. holds a stake in Turbine, the company may be moving toward consolidating the rights. There’s still talk of a Hobbit movie coming. That may help the game franchise in the future.


GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member