Warner Bros. nabs gamemaker Turbine

Buy gives studio control over 'Lord of the Rings' games

Warner Bros. is in a role-playing mood, acquiring Boston-based gamemaker Turbine. The buy gives the studio control over all games based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” books and also enables it to develop Internet-based games around DC Comics’ superheroes.

Turbine currently produces”Lord of the Rings Online,” “Dungeons & Dragons Online” and “Asheron’s Call.” Thousands of players pay $15 a month to play “Rings” and “Call.” More than 1 million play “Dungeons” for free, but pay to buy extra powers and weapons for their characters.

Warners is spending $160 million to acquire the privately held company, sources said.

Warner Bros. had already taken over the license to make console-based videogames based on the “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

The studio is also high on role-playing games, readying to launch DC Universe Online as a multi-player web property with Sony Online Entertainment and DC comics.

Turbine will become part of Warner Bros. Interactive, a division that the studio has been building up through acquisitions since 2007.

It now also owns TT Games, behind the Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman games; Midway (behind “Spy Hunter” and “Mortal Kombat”); and most of Rocksteady Studios (which created “Batman: Arkham Asylum”).

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