WB keeps faith in live service model despite Suicide Squad failure, hints at move away from triple-A games


Warner Bros. Games has not been affected by the poor critical and commercial performance of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and plans to move towards a live service model for its games going forward. JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games, Warner Bros. Discovery, recently presented the company's games strategy at a Morgan Stanley speaking event, including the studio's 'Games as a Service' model, greater investment in free-to- The intention to do so was reiterated. – Play games and mobile titles, and express skepticism about the “shaky” business of custom triple-A games on consoles.

Speaking at Morgan Stanley's recent Technology Media & Telecommunications conference, Perrette reiterated Warner Bros.' The commitment to transition its biggest franchises to live service games and suggested a strategic shift away from Triple-A releases.

“The challenge we face is that our business, historically, has been very triple-A console-based. It's a great business when you have a hit movie like Harry Potter (Hogwarts Legacy), it makes for an amazing year. And then, when you have no releases, or, unfortunately, we also have disappointments – we released Suicide Squad this quarter, which was not as strong – it makes it very volatile,'' the executive. he said.

Perrette said existing Warner Bros. franchises like Mortal Kombat, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and DC provided the studio an opportunity to expand its offerings beyond the console space. “We think there is an opportunity to take those four franchises and develop a more holistic approach, particularly around expansion into the mobile and multi-platform free-to-play space, that gives us a better and more consistent set of revenues.” Could,” he said. Said. The executive confirmed that WB Games will launch several free-to-play games on mobile later this year.

Despite the massive success of last year's Hogwarts Legacy, WB Games has less confidence in triple-A console releases, due to long development cycles and high development costs. A live service model, on the other hand, could offer continued engagement and generate more consistent revenue, the studio believes. Perrette said that Warner Bros. would consider expanding its existing games around a live service model and suggested that a Hogwarts Legacy sequel could perhaps offer the same. “Instead of just launching a one-off console game, how can we develop a game, for example Hogwarts Legacy or Harry Potter, that is a live service where people can continue to live and work and in that Can you build and play worlds on an ongoing basis?” He said.

Warner Bros. announced its strategy to enter the live services space in an earnings call last November. WB CEO David Zaslav had said that the company planned to turn its biggest video game franchises into long-term products. “Ultimately we want to drive engagement and monetization over longer cycles and at higher levels,” Zaslav said at the time.

The studio is also reeling from the failure of its latest triple-AAA release, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which follows a live service looter shooter model. The game, which released last month on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X, reportedly failed to meet Warner Bros.'s expectations. At the time of writing, the third-person shooter has 208 players online on Steam, with an all-time peak player count of over 13,000. In our own 6/10 review for the game, we said that Kill the Justice League was severely held back by its live service model, with “surprising design choices, mundane mission structure and vague identity” working against the game's strengths. Were working.

It seems that the games as a service model has also reached a point of saturation, with multiple titles competing to maintain player engagement. While popular games like Fortnite and Call of Duty have performed well, newer releases have struggled to successfully adopt the model. It seems that even high-grossing live service titles have lost favor among gamers.

Hogwarts Legacy, a single-player console release with no microtransactions and live service elements, became the best-selling game of all time last year, selling more than 22 million copies.

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