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The tank maker that would be king: Wargaming.net eyes the console after acquiring Day 1 Studios

When talking about the titans of the video game industry in the future, Wargaming.net will likely get mentioned right alongside big guns like Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft. Those multinational corporations are the old money of video games, with empires that spread across PC, mobile, and console gaming. Wargaming is part of the new guard, with empires built on free-to-play, massively multiplayer online games like the company’s phenomenon World of Tanks. Now it’s looking to start taking on those companies of the old guard on their own turf. Console gaming is the next territory Wargaming wants to take, and it’s started with F.E.A.R. developer Day 1 Studios.

Wargaming announced on Tuesday morning that it had acquired Day 1 Studios for $20 million. The studio’s very first task will be developing a brand new console game. 

“The move into console game development is a huge step for Wargaming, as we begin to expand our presence into new platforms,” said Victor Kislyi, CEO of the growing Belarusian gaming company, “We are looking forward to sharing the fruits of our labor soon.”

Day 1 Studios was a rising star in the video game industry in the middle of last decade. It worked in tandem with FASA Interactive on the well-received Xbox games MechAssault and MechAssault 2, two online multiplayer games that helped the then new Xbox Live service find its footing with the audience. Its breakout hit though, was the Xbox edition of Monolith Productions’ first-person shooter F.E.A.R. In 2006, though, Day 1 Studios was contracted by LucasArts to develop Fracture, a middling third-person shooter that sold and reviewed poorly when it was finally released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2008.

Day 1 rebounded when it took control of F.E.A.R. 3. The sequel was a sleeper hit when it released in 2011, not selling as well as Warner Bros.’ other titles from that year like Batman: Arkham City and Mortal Kombat, but enough to re-establish Day 1 as a commodity.

The question now is whether or not Wargaming’s first game with the studio will be Reign of Thunder. Day 1 announced Reign of Thunder in February 2012. The free-to-play MMO featuring giant mechs promised a return to the studio’s MechAssault roots. It’s also an ideal fit for Wargaming.net’s free-to-play MMO empire based around World of Tanks. The console market has yet to prove it can support a free-to-play MMO of that sort, though.

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