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Batman: Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat have delivered big returns for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
The video game company’s parent, Time Warner, reported that second-quarter revenues were $727 million, up 135 percent from a year ago. Warner Bros., the movie studio that includes the game division, saw revenue of $3.3 billion, up 15 percent from a year ago. Operating income for Warner Bros. was $344 million, up 46 percent.
Overall, Time Warner revenue was $7.3 billion, up 8 percent, with operating income of $1.9 billion, up 15 percent, during the quarter. It’s worth noting that Warner’s game business is one of its fastest growing divisions, and that will likely mean that games will become a lot more important in the media conglomerate’s future plans.
“Warner’s growing video game business is also a leader,” said Jeff Bewkes, chief executive of Time Warner, in an analyst call. “We’re looking to build on that momentum with next month’s Lego Dimensions, our entry into the toys-to-life business.”
Warner Bros. said the big games helped make it the top video game publisher for the first half of the year, according to U.S. sales data from market research firm NPD Group.
Other releases so far this year include Lego Jurassic World, Dying Light, The Witcher 3 (a distribution deal for CD Projekt Red), and Infinite Crisis. The latter was a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game that featured DC Comics superheroes. But that didn’t resonate with gamers, and it was shut down. That shows just how much its competition — League of Legends from Riot Games and Dota 2 from Valve — dominate the MOBA category.
Warner is a leader in transmedia, or entertainment properties that span multiple categories like film, television, and games. DC Comics is the basis for seven shows coming up this season. DC also fuels sales of toys, games, films, and comics. It’s been a long process for Warner to grow its reputation in games, but it’s happening. The next big step: the company is launching five mobile games this year.
“The first thing we learned in the game business was a brand wasn’t enough,” said David Haddad, executive vice president at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, at our recent GamesBeat Summit. “The brand is just the starting point. Where is the game, where are the ideas, and how do you bring those together?”
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