Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just announced the purchase of Turbine Inc. Previously the largest privately-owned MMO studio in North America, Turbine is now a member of the Time-Warner family. This means that Asheron's Call, Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online have been folded into this deal. This comes after a Warner Bros. spending spree, in which they picked up TT Games, the assets of Midway, and a majority stake in Rocksteady Studios.
"Turbine is recognized globally for its industry-leading technology, groundbreaking graphics and its unique ability to create and operate massive and persistent online worlds which greatly enhance players' social gaming experiences," said Martin Tremblay, president, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online have both been an enormous success for Turbine and we look forward to working with their talented development team to continue creating award-winning online games."
This isn't the first time that Turbine and Warner Bros. were bedfellows, as they partnered to distribute LotRO's Mines of Moria expansion. One interesting fact of this deal is that this means Warner Bros. will now hold all of the game rights to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings franchise, which were previously split between Turbine (who held the rights to the MMO) and Warner Bros. (who had the other LOTR game rights).
Financial Times indicates one possible reason for the acquisition: "Warner Bros is buying North America's largest independent online gaming studio in an effort to spread its social networking and micro-payments technology across its video games and home video business."
You can read the press release over on Turbine's website, and give a little love to our friends at Joystiq who are also covering this news (just with more hearts).