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Warner Bros. buys MMO game developer Turbine

Warner Bros. has acquired Lord of the Rings Online developer Turbine Inc. for a reported $160 million, adding the Massachusetts-based company to a rapidly growing video-game stable.

The move gives Warner Bros. control of all games based on the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy series, and enables the studio to develop online games around the DC Comics properties. As the Los Angeles Times notes, Turbine's specializes in the creation of massively multi-player online games, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, Asheron's Call and the previously mentioned Lord of the Rings.

Warner Bros. obtained the rights to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit in 2008 when it purchased New Line. It already has the license to make console-based games based on the Tolkien properties.

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Turbine will become part of Warner Bros. Interactive, a division that's expanded dramatically over the past few years with four major acquisitions: a majority stake in Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios in February; Snowblind Studios and most of the assets of bankrupt Midway Games last year; and LEGO games developer TT Games in 2007.

Just last month Warner Bros. announced plans the construction of a studio in Montreal that will develop games based on DC Comics properties.

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