Skip to main content

Warner Bros. wants to focus on free mobile games after Suicide Squad disaster

No lessons seem to have been learned from Hogwarts Legacy
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

It seems like everyone working in high places at Warner Bros. has a different idea about which strategy its games department should follow for the future – and none of them seem to have a good grasp on what gamers actually want.

Last year, WB CEO David Zaslav envisioned shifting the company’s focus to live-service games: “Our focus is on transforming our biggest franchises from largely console and PC based with three-four year release schedules to include more always on gameplay through live services, multiplatform and free-to-play extensions with the goal to have more players spending more time on more platforms. Ultimately we want to drive engagement and monetization of longer cycles and at higher levels.”

If you thought that the disastrous Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League would have put a stop to that particular train of thought, we’ve got some bad news for you.

A man with a pointy chin, receding green hair, white face paint, and a red painted smile leers into the camera. Behind him is a sparsely decorated room lit by a single bare bulb

This is how the decision makers at WB look to the majority of gamers.

Jean-Briac Perrette, who spearheads the global streaming and gaming ambitions at WB, is now suggesting a slightly different approach in the light of this latest setback, as GameSpot reported, but not a paradigm shift away from live-service titles.

Speaking at an event, the executive said that the company was “doubling down on games as an area where we think there is a lot more growth opportunity that we can tap into with the IP that we have,” but also called the market “volatile” with Suicide Squad’s failure as an example. The lesson he seems to have taken from that is not one gamers will want to hear.

“Rather than just launching a one-and-done console game,” Perrette asked himself in front of the audience, “how do we develop a game around, for example, a Hogwarts Legacy or Harry Potter, that is a live-service where people can live and work and build and play in that world on an ongoing basis?”

Perrette said Warner Bros. should focus on free-to-play and mobile games to achieve its aims in the space and fully leverage its own IP. You read that right: To brave the dangers of the volatile live-service market, you just need to invest even more into live-service games.

Of course, all of this talk about live-service being the future and the market for the “one-and-done console game” being “volatile” sounds incredibly ironic given that WB Games’ single-player RPG Hogwarts Legacy was the best-selling game of 2023 and Suicide Squad studio Rocksteady was renowned for its single-player Batman games before being ordered to make a live-service title. I guess just making more of these is off the table for some reason?