Warner Bros. gives games another shot

Title-rich movie studio swaps licensing agenda for in-house production model, hires Monolith co-founder Jason Hall.

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Already a dominant player in the movie industry, Warner Bros. is now jumping into the games arena with both feet. The film and television studio announced today that it had hired Monolith co-founder Jason Hall to lead its newly formed Warner Bros. Games group, part of the recently created Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment division.

While Warner is no stranger to the game sector, its previous commitment has been little more than asset management--licensing its properties to other developers and publishers, most notably The Matrix and Terminator licenses which were secured by Ubisoft and Atari. Now, Warner wants to bring the process in-house and to "focus on the creation, development, production, and distribution of games that will be marketed to consumers under the Warner Bros. Games brand."

Speaking with GameSpot earlier today, Hall said Warner Bros. was "dead serious" in establishing increased credibility in the game space. Hall said he planned on introducing a number of new game-development models to the movie studio, including, but not limited to, creating games in-house or via studios that Warner might acquire. "My agenda is huge in that I need to make Warner Bros. relevant." Hall added optimistically that, "We want Warner Bros. to be the leader and to take a controlling and influential position within the game industry."

Previously, Hall was CEO of Monolith Productions, developer of Tron 2.0 and No One Lives Forever 2, which he co-founded in 1994. There were previous ties between the two companies, since Monolith is currently developing the Matrix MMORPG, The Matrix Online.

Warner Bros. is also eyeing interactive entertainment areas in addition to PC and console games. Today's announcement makes specific mention of the company's desire to "leverage its world-class brands across all current and future platforms (including console, MMPOG, PC-based gaming and wireless applications like N-Gage)."

Hall will report to both Kevin Tsujihara, executive vice president, corporate business development & strategy, and Dan Romanelli, president, Warner Bros. worldwide consumer products, Warner Bros. Entertainment.

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