AT&T announced (opens in new tab) earlier today that it will spin off WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery in a $43 billion deal that will result in the creation of a new "premier, standalone global entertainment company" that will compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. According to IGN (opens in new tab), the deal will affect the videogame scene, too.
Most of IGN's overview focuses on the video aspect of the deal, but AT&T also told the site that part of Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, but not all of it, will be sold off. No details were provided on how the company will be split, but WBIE is itself the parent company of roughly a dozen studios, including NetherRealm, Monolith, Avalanche, Rocksteady, TT Games, Playdemic, and WB Games studios in San Diego, Boston, Montreal, San Francisco, and New York.
Some of those studios, and the games they work on—Mortal Kombat, Middle-earth: Shadow of War, Batman: Arkham, and Lego, to name a handful—"will stay with AT&T, and some will go with the new company," a rep told Axios reporter Sara Fischer (opens in new tab).
It's impossible to say what sort of effect the change will have on individual games or studios, although my guess is that the biggest of the bunch, like Mortal Kombat, probably won't pivot in any noticeable way immediately. A less obvious question is who will get control of the famed Nemesis System that Warner filed a patent for in 2015, and what they'll do with it.
WB Games is getting broken up somehow due to AT&T's WarnerMedia-Discovery sale/merger. "Some of the gaming arm will stay with AT&T and some will go with the new company," rep tells Axios' @sarafischer. No further info. WB Games lists 11 studios, games for all kinds of IP, devicesMay 17, 2021
The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger obviously goes way beyond WBIE itself, but the game publisher has been on at least one other bargaining table recently: Rumors emerged in July 2020 that AT&T was looking to offload WBIE for $4 billion, with Microsoft pegged as a possible buyer. A month later, however, AT&T seemingly changed its mind.
Aside from the confirmation that at least some of WBIE's studios will be headed to a new corporate home, no further information was shared. I've reached out to WarnerMedia for more information and will update if I receive a reply.