Warner Bros. opening new studio in San Francisco, focus on free-to-play games
As development costs for AAA blockbuster titles continue to rise as does publisher/developer interest in mobile/social games. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is the latest to explore this trend, forming a new studio in San Francisco, California that's set to open this year.
WB Games San Francisco will specialize in developing and publishing "high-quality, free-to-play, mobile, social and browser-based games." The studio will also oversee publishing of all other mobile games developed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
“We are extremely pleased to add WB Games San Francisco to our global portfolio of studios and publishing capabilities,” said Martin Tremblay, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment President. “As our company has grown over the years, it has been a high priority to attract and cultivate creativity and innovation in top markets for game development around the world.”
The opening of a new studio shouldn't be seen as an entire change in focus for Warner Bros. After all, they are still publishing one of the most anticipated fighting games for 2013, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Rather, this should be seen as a testament to the growing popularity in mobile and social games, as well as the free-to-play business model.
The free-to-play model doesn't just apply to mobile games, either. MMOs have begun to adopt this model more frequently, especially when subscription numbers begin to dip. And many publishers are beginning to bring this model over to consoles as well -- just look at Sony's Dust 514, a free-to-play first-person shooter due out on PS3 this year. Heading into the next generation of gaming, it's not hard to imagine an industry that emphasizes free-to-play with microtransactions. Heck, even full priced AAA games are beginning to offer microtransactions.