News always comes in at the last minute on a Friday. According to a report by CNBC, AT&T is apparently looking into selling Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the gaming division behind titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The report further states that major publishers like Take-Two Interactive Software, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard have all expressed interest in acquiring the division. CNBC's sources say the estimated cost of the acquisition could total around $4 billion.
The move comes after the launch of HBO Max, the streaming conglomerate of all of WarnerMedia's various brands. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is replacing Randall Stephenson as the new CEO of AT&T next month. It's possible that incoming management has decided that pursuing gaming isn't worth the company's time; the same happened with Disney, which shrunk Disney Interactive over the course of several years before shuttering the division and moving to a licensing model for video games.
What's interesting with the possibility of Take-Two Interactive Software, Electronic Arts, or Activision Blizzard picking up Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is that the division wholly subsists on Warner Bros. properties. Its major titles include the aforementioned Batman: Arkham Asylum and Middle-Earth, alongside titles like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Game of Thrones Conquest, and Scribblenauts. The Lego series of games from TT Games would probably require a brand-new licensing deal with the Lego Group. That just leaves Mortal Kombat, which is a best-selling fighting series from Netherrealm Studios, but one that alternates with the DC focused Injustice.
That's not even looking toward the future. There's been a long-rumored new Batman in production at one of the WB Games studios, and a leaked triple-A Harry Potter adventure game. If Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment moves to, say, Take-Two, do those games come along for the ride, or do they need to be changed? We'll see if anything comes of this report, as the reality would represent even more major consolidation in the gaming industry.