Warner Bros buys MMO maker Turbine

Lord of the Rings Online dev acquired as Warner looks to online expansion

Massively multiplayer online (MMO) game developer Turbine Inc has been acquired by Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group (WBHEG), for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in Boston in 1994, Turbine was the largest privately-held online games studio in North America. The company's first title was the influential Asheron's Call in 1999 and its subsequent sequel.

The studio has since gone on to create Dungeon & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online. The latter appears to have been a key part of Warner's interest in the company, as the only game rights not previously owned by the publisher were for MMOs based on Tolkien's books.

Warner has also emphasised Turbine's proprietary digital publishing platform, online merchandising and e-commerce functionality. Turbine's integration of both bespoke and external social networks has also been highlighted by their new owner.

"Turbine is recognised globally for its industry-leading technology, groundbreaking graphics and its unique ability to create and operate massive and persistent online worlds which greatly enhance players' social gaming experiences," said Martin Tremblay, president of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment.

"We have been looking to expand access to our online worlds to more players and more markets," said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine. "This acquisition is very exciting because it allows us to expand globally while continuing to focus on creating spectacular online games that our loyal fans and players have come to expect."

Warner has seen rapid expansion as a games publisher in recent years, acquiring Lego Star Wars makers TT Games in 2007, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance developer Snowblind Studios and various Midway assets (including the Mortal Kombat franchise) in 2009 and in 2010 Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios.

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Latest comments (5)

Dan Griliopoulos Senior Games Writer, Improbable12 years ago
It's always sad to see an independent developer go, but hopefully Warner's clout will help Turbine's MMOs get onto other platforms than PC, something they've been attempting for years. Another very canny buy by Warner.
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Aidan Minter Marketing Manager, Tradewest Games Ltd12 years ago
Absolutely no question Turbine are a very good studio who I had the pleasure of working with at Atari but Warners trimmed staff from both Snowblind and Monolith who they also own, paid over $30 Million for Midway which brought them the still unreleased "This is Vegas" from Surreal Studios which had at the last count a Midway dev budget of $35 Million spent on it at the time of purchase. The other clever purchases I think they've made is Rocksteady and Travellers Tales but I just hope Turbine can shine under the WB banner.
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Terence Gage Freelance writer 12 years ago
Yeah, it is a bit odd why they would reduce the headcount at some studios but then buy up others... particularly unusual that they're farmed out FEAR 3 to Day 1 rather than let Monolith handle it (unless Monolith have a new project in the works and it was more efficient to reduce the studio size rather than expand to be able to handle two projects).

Anyway, I hope this works out well for Turbine, but I remain to be convinced as Warner as a significant player in the publishing market as yet.
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Paul Kerr Maxwell Technical Support Advisor, e4e Interactive Entertainment Services12 years ago
I think Warners intentions would be to keep Turbine much as it is now, bolting it on to the side rather than "integrating" it. Getting all the Tolkien IP in one place is interesting, this could actually benefit Turbine in that they could perhaps expand The Lord of the Rings MMO further...
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"Financial details and terms were not released however the deal is rumored to be worth $160 Million" is what I came across.
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