Warner Bros Gaming illustration David Zaslav’s most critical mission is leading Warner Bros. Discovery through the streaming wars. But he also sees a rich opportunity for the company to capture a bigger chunk of territory in games . The WB Discovery chief, who can’t go one earnings call without boasting about the power of the company’s rich trove of IP, used his Q3 address as a chance to announce plans to level up the video game division, which he says has “consistently enjoyed among the highest ROIs of any of our businesses.” This is where Zaslav’s love of franchises meets his plans for domination of the nearly $200 billion gaming industry. While “smaller than some of the leading pure-play gaming companies” — namely Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Ubisoft and Take-Two Interactive, as well as publishing competitors Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft Gaming — Warner Bros. Games has managed “comparable” operating margins and is “punching above [their] weight” thanks to four IPs the company values at $1 billion apiece in the gaming world: Harry Potter , “Game of Thrones,” DC and “ Mortal Kombat .” “A very consistent message coming from the executive layer of Warner Bros. Discovery is the importance of franchises,” David Haddad, president of Warner Bros. Interactive, tells Variety. “There’s a unique and important role games have in keeping our franchises relevant, resonant and exciting, because there’s plenty of fans and plenty of people consuming content where games are their starting point.” The two franchises that WB Discovery profited from the most in 2023 are “Mortal Kombat,” with the release of “Mortal Kombat 1,” which has sold 3 million copies since its September release; and Harry Potter, with last February’s launch of “ Hogwarts Legacy ,” which has now crossed 24 million copies sold and was the bestselling game […]

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