In the better-late-than-never category, Hollywood studios seem to be finally waking up and smelling the profits when it comes to video games. For over five years now, revenues from games have surpassed worldwide annual box office receipts by a considerable margin. So for stockholders, it must have come as a pleasant surprise yesterday, that Warner Bros. Entertainment has announced the formation of its own vid game division. While SEC filings don’t break out the profit picture for each sector of the company, it’s a sure thing that WBE will significantly increase revenues and profits by bringing game development in-house. Previously the studio has licensed its entertainment properties to third parties such as game giant Electronic Arts.
The newly minted Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc. will be headed by Jason Hall, a well-known and highly respected presence in the field. Among other things, Hall was CEO of Monolith Prods. Inc., where he worked with Warner Bros. on the development of Matrix Online, the massively multiplayer online video game based on the successful Matrix film franchise. WBIE will continue to license and co-publish titles. Now it adds development to the list of company tasks.
“Although we have enjoyed success in the gaming world, we have barely scratched the surface,” says exec VP of corporate biz development Kevin Tsujihara in today’s Hollywood Reporter. "With these developments,” he added, “we will be well positioned to coordinate and maximize our companywide resources and approach the burgeoning interactive gaming business as a long-term strategy.”