Warner Bros’ new games are doing better than their movies

3 min read
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Cha-ching

What’s better? Movies, or gaming? On the one hand, you’ve got at least a two-hour escape from your humdrum life on the big screen as you watch impossibly beautiful people soak up damage and save the day from a gigantic portal in the sky.

On the other hand, gaming is a more expensive diversion, but one with much more staying power depending on your attention span. And that’s an idea that has been catching up with Hollywood for several years now. Gaming has always been there, clawing away at profits and tempting people to ditch the health hazard of a cinema for the comfort of home. And one of the biggest movie houses in the world has felt that impact this year.

Naturally I’m talking about Warner Bros., and more specifically, the Warner Bros. Interactive branch that is responsible for publishing games. According to the Wall Street Journal, games from that publisher saw some gangbuster sales this year.

Batman: Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X each sold more than five million copies each, despite the fact that the PC versions of said games were bigger piles of rubbish than my Cabbage Patch Kids investment.

“In the past few years, the studio has shot to the top, thanks to major hits including Batman: Arkham Knight and fighting game Mortal Kombat X, which have each sold more than five million units globally,” the WSJ said.

MK-X

So how does that rack up then? Let’s do some quick maths: Let’s multiply those numbers by the standard retail price of $59.99. Multiply that by five million, and the number you get is $299.9 million. Double that, and you have $599.9 million.

That’s just pure guesstimation though. I have no idea if the final number is even that high, or how much is left after various licensing, distribution and advertising fees add up.

The thing is, whatever is left over, is still a fantastic profit when you stand it next to the time and development cost of creating such games. You’ve got to spend money to make money, and this has clearly worked for Warner Bros. and their gaming division.

Because it certainly hasn’t for the films this year. Warner Bros. hasn’t had a flop of a year so far, but they certainly haven’t had a huge amount of success either. In fact, their movie releases this year have been downright lacklustre in comparison.

And we’ve only mentioned two games so far. LEGO Jurassic World has “sold about four million,” according to the report, although  this was not made clear if the numbers were from shipping units to retailers or direct customer sales.

And then you’ve also got LEGO Dimensions, which is looking set to emerge as a proper threat to established toys-to-life brands such as Disney infinity and Skylanders.

With that kind of overall profit and growth, we’ll most likely see even more games from the WB soon, as well as even more shoddy PC ports and terrible season passes as well. Hooray! Gaming!

Last Updated: October 13, 2015

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