Warner Bros. Games remains unfazed by the weaker critical and commercial performance of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League and plans to continue to lean on the live service model for its games in the future. JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Gaming at Warner Bros. Discovery laid out the game company’s strategy at a recent Morgan Stanley speaking event, reiterating the studio’s intentions to invest more in the games-as-a-service model, free-to-play games and mobile titles, and expressing doubts about the “volatile” business of on-demand triple A games on consoles.

Speaking at the recent Morgan Stanley Technology Media and Telecom Conference, Perette repeated Warner Bros. commitment to transform its biggest franchises into live service games and proposed a strategic move away from triple-A releases.

“The challenge we’ve had is that our business, historically, has been very triple-console based. It’s a great business when you have a hit like Harry Potter (Hogwarts Legacy) it makes the year look great. And then when you don’t have a release or, unfortunately, we also have disappointments — we just released Suicide Squad this quarter, which wasn’t that strong — it just makes it very volatile,” the executive said.

Perrette said existing Warner Bros. franchises such as Mortal Kombat, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and DC have provided the studio with the opportunity to expand its offerings beyond the console space. “We think there’s an opportunity to take these four franchises and develop a much more holistic approach, particularly around expanding into the mobile and multi-platform free-to-play space, that can give us a much better and more consistent set of revenues,” he said. The executive confirmed that WB Games will release several free-to-play games for mobile devices later this year.

Despite the huge success of last year’s Hogwarts Legacy, WB Games seems to have less faith in triple-A console releases due to long development cycles and high development costs. The live service model, on the other hand, can offer continuous engagement and generate revenue more consistently, the studio believes. Perette said Warner Bros. will look to expand its existing games around the live service model, and suggested that the Hogwarts Legacy sequel could offer the same. “Instead of just launching a one-off console game, how do we develop a game around, say, Hogwarts Legacy or Harry Potter, that’s a live service where people can continue to live and work and build and play in that world on an ongoing basis?” he said.

Warner Bros. had announced its strategy to move into the live services space on an earnings call last year in November. WB CEO David Zaslav said the company plans to transform its biggest video game franchises into long-term products. “Ultimately, we want to drive engagement and monetization over longer cycles and at higher levels,” Zaslav said at the time.

The studio also doesn’t seem fazed by the failure of its latest triple-A release, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League , which followed a live-action shooter model. The game, released last month for PC, PS5 and Xbox Series S/X, it is reported did not meet the expectations of Warner Bros. At the time of writing, the third-person shooter has 208 players online on Steam, with an all-time peak player count of just over 13,000. In our own 6/10 review for the game, we said that Kill the Justice League was severely hampered by its live service model, with “confusing design choices, simple mission structure and unclear identity’ working against the game’s strengths.

The games-as-a-service model also seems to have reached a saturation point, with several titles competing to keep players engaged. While popular games like Fortnite and Call of Duty have performed well, newer versions have struggled to adapt the model successfully. Highly monetized live service titles also seem to have fallen out of favor with gamers themselves.

Hogwarts Legacy, a single-player console version without microtransactions and live service elements, became the best-selling game last year, selling over 22 million copies.

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