Turbine acquired by Warner Bros.

Relaxing after dinner, I saw this retweet from Patience that Turbine had been acquired by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment and felt my heart sink.

Turbine has been an independent studio in the MMO space ever since they bought the rights for Asheron’s Call back from Microsoft. I’ve always felt that this gave them valuable freedom in making decisions. I very much doubt that DDO would have been given as much time to succeed as it was, and I don’t believe a large company like Warner Brothers would’ve okay-ed the F2P experiment that turned DDO around.  Now Turbine will have to answer to WB for timelines and budgets.

Still, I can’t think of anything WB has done in the gaming industry lately so my initial disappointment may be totally unwarranted, but given similar situations I’ve seen, I’m not optimistic. Mythic didn’t profit from their incorporation into EA. Blizzard has recently been drawn a bit further into the management of Activision. Cryptic/Atari have had quite a few marketing and PR goofs, and I’ve often wondered how much of that was Atari’s involvement.

Lord of the Rings Online is my home MMO, the one I always come back to (well technically I never leave, being a lifetime subscriber). More than that, it’s been a treasured opportunity to play in Tolkien’s world in a way I’m not able to through the books or movies. I’ve never been worried about Turbine doing anything to screw up their game. I don’t have the same confidence in Warner Brothers.

Doom and gloom aside, this should mean that Turbine has a lot more resources and stability, and I truly hope that this acquisition works out for the best both for the Turbine staff and the LotRO/DDO/AC player communities.  It’s probable that the first effects of this acquisition won’t be felt for several months. For now, I just have to be patient, try to keep and open mind, and try to maintain an optimistic attitude. Still, I can’t ignore my gut, and as a wise man once said, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Some various news stories about the deal, for the curious: