THE DEALMAKER: It’s understandable if you think Kevin Tsujihara is playing games at Warner Bros.
The exec, who oversees homevideo, digital distribution, online, wireless and anti-piracy efforts, spent the past year bolstering the studio’s vidgame business — especially after Warner Bros.Interactive secured $500 million from an Abu Dhabi-based investment group.
That’s included snatching up TT Games and Traveller’s Tales, the U.K. developer behind “Lego Star Wars,” “Lego Indiana Jones” and the upcoming “Lego Batman.” Tsujihara also doubled Warners’ stake in Sci Entertainment, the British parent of Eidos Interactive, owner of the “Tomb Raider” franchise.
Deals will help Warners become a bigger player in the games space as it aims to release up to 10 new titles each year that appeal to hardcore gamers as well as kids and families.
“We’re trying to be as established in this area as we can,” Tsujihara says. “Representing the studio in these conversations is different than if it were a financial investor or a game company.”
Games weren’t the only thing on Tsujihara’s mind recently. He also led Warners to embrace Blu-ray, effectively ending the format war with HD DVD.
Tsujihara realizes not every deal will pay off. “For as many good deals as I’ve done, I’ve done just as many bad deals,” he says. “You’ve got to be willing to take risks and trust your instincts.”
KEY DEALS: Leading Warner Bros.’ buyout of TT Games; doubling the studio’s investment in Eidos Interactive parent Sci Entertainment; backing Blu-ray over HD DVD
DEALMAKER DOS: “Do your homework, know all of the people involved, and trust your team and your instincts.”
DEALMAKER DON’TS: “Don’t let arbitrary deadlines dictate the terms of the deal.”
TOP DEALMAKERS ENCOUNTERED: Dick Parsons, Steve Jobs