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Media Giant Time Warner Inc. acquires Westwood’s Online Gaming Powerhouse Turbine Entertainment April 21, 2010

Posted by HubTechInsider in Acquisitions, Gaming, Video Gaming Video Games.
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Turbine Inc., one of the Boston area’s biggest video game companies, has been acquired by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Inc. of Burbank, Calif., a business unit of Time Warner Inc.


The deal underscores Greater Boston’s increasing prominence as a center for video game development. Financial details of the deal were not released, but a source close to the negotiations said that Warner Bros. will pay as much as $160 million, including sums to be paid to Turbine shareholders in future years if the company meets certain financial targets.


Turbine, a privately-held, venture-backed company in Westwood, is one of the leading makers of Internet-based, multi-player adventure games. The company produces Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Asheron’s Call. Thousands of players subscribe to Lord of the Rings and Asheron’s Call, paying monthly fees of around $15 for the right to play and socialize with one another online. More than one million players play Dungeons & Dragons Online.


Acquiring Turbine will give Warner Bros. total control over all future video games based on author J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved Lord of the Rings novels. Turbine holds an exclusive license to make an Internet-based game based on the books, while last year, Warner Bros. won a license to make non-Internet-based Tolkien video games.


Warner Bros. Interactive has bought a number of game development houses in recent years, in a bid to become a major power in video gaming. In 2007, the company purchased TT Games, a British firm that develops family-friendly products like Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman. In 2009, Warner Bros. bought the assets of bankrupt Chicago game company Midway, maker of the popular Mortal Kombat games. And earlier this year, it acquired a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios, another British developer, which created the hit game Batman: Arkham Asylum.


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