DC Is Still Destroying Marvel in This Key Area

Warner and DC Entertainment plan to release the final installment in the "Arkham" series of games this year. Source: Warner Interactive.

Looking at the trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, the final installment in the award-winning game series, I'd almost swear Christopher Nolan was working on a new film starring the Dark Knight. Walt Disney  (NYSE: DIS  ) investors might be even better off today if Marvel put as much effort into video games. (Sigh.)

But don't take my word for it. More than 2.6 million have tuned in to the Arkham Knight trailer as of this writing. You're welcome to join them via the embedded video I've included at the end of this article. 

A better bat signal
Why so much enthusiasm for the new game? Time Warner  (NYSE: TWX  )  turned to subsidiary and Arkham series originator Rocksteady Studios to develop Arkham Knight, which Warner says will ship sometime this year on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. (Sorry, fellow Mac users.) If history is any guide, retailers will sell on the order of 2 million units the first week, or about in line with the last Rocksteady-produced title in the series, Batman: Arkham City.

Warner could use the help. The company's Montreal-based games division orchestrated the last try in the series, Arkham Origins, only to see the title suffer numerous glitches and fail to wow critics. For example, Metacritic's combined score of Arkham Origins came in at 74 versus 91 for the Rocksteady-produced Arkham City.

Sales also lagged. According to VGChartz, Arkham Origins has sold about 3.54 million copies to console, PC, and mobile players. By contrast, Arkham City sold 9.82 million copies on the same basis. In bringing Rocksteady back for Arkham Knight, executives seem to be hoping for better scores and sales. And yet it's worth noting Warner's worst effort in the Arkham series is producing at roughly the same level as Marvel's best.

Lego Marvel Super Heroes, released last October, has sold 3.6 million copies as of this writing, according to VGChartz. Deadpool, Marvel's other recent try in the console gaming market, sold just 460,000 copies via publisher Activision Blizzard. Average performance at best, yet probably acceptable to Disney, which hasn't been shy about farming out game development work. Electronic Arts is already in process developing a Star Wars title for the House of Mouse.

Warner isn't willing to take the sort of chance, and that's good news for its investors. Rocksteady's history of thrilling gamers should be more than enough to sell 7 million to 10 million copies of Arkham Knight, especially if the gameplay delivers on the trailer I promised to show you. Enjoy:

Rocksteady Studios, creator of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, is the team behind the soon-to-be-released Batman: Arkham Knight. Sources: Warner Interactive, YouTube.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect from Batman: Arkham Knight? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think about Warner handing the reins back to Rocksteady Studios, and whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.

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Read/Post Comments (15) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 11:25 AM, pryankee33 wrote:

    I don't agree with this article. Rocksteady allowed WB Montreal to do the origin game, but it was always in the works that another Rocksteady version of the game was coming out. Whether the game did great or poorly, they have been working on the documentation for the trademarks for the new Rocksteady version when the origins game was in development. To compare Origins to City is an unfair comparision. Origins isnt meant to be better then City. I mean, its an Origins game after all.

    To get off topic a little, it's kind of why I don't understand why people say the last Superman movie was bad. When you compair it to DKR, sure its garbage, but considering its an origins movie, you can only compair it to Batman Begins. In my opinion, it was better then that. Not by a mile, but better. So the series has promise.

    My point being just because the Origins game got a lower rating then City doesnt mean they are going back to Rocksteady. They have been making this new game with Rocksteady since City came out. Just my 2 cents.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 11:25 AM, Reek wrote:

    DC does indeed have a big edge in the video game department, for now. Once Disney/Marvel realize they can make a game like Skylanders and Disney Infinity,where they can sell peripheral Marvel action figures that plug into the game, they are going to have a license to print money.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 12:44 PM, Ullr52 wrote:

    And DC has also made their company into a one trick pony, or in this case a one trick batman. DC can't push anything without batman. Once Disney/Marvel get the video game ball picked up and going they will be destroying DC.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 2:49 PM, Def wrote:

    The DC movies are much better IMO. The entire Batman series with Christian Bale was awesome, and the IMO Man of Steel had some great action sequences. Besides maybe the first Iron Man, the rest of the Marvel movies have been crap. The last Thor movie was terrible. The costumes are also cheap looking. The battles between super heroes and super villains always brief and never very good.

    DC is just better at this point. I will say however that the last X-Men movie was an improvement, and Hugh Jackman is a great Wolverine.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 3:54 PM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    Here I thought this was going to be another Arrow article. Still, Marvel has multiple billion dollar film franchises, so they'll be just fine.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 4:23 PM, hopchris65 wrote:

    they should make a movie like these games one they would sell .two they look awesome

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 5:20 PM, hisradness wrote:

    "Destroying" is a rather strong term considering Arkham Asylum and City were the only two comic based video games to be better than good. Though LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is fun.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 5:51 PM, Aldirick wrote:

    Let me point out a thing or two here. First, this is Batman, put a batman on a sub and you can charge 2 dollars more and people will gladly pay the extra 2 dollars for the batman. Put Batman on anything and it will sell, because Batman is the everyman of the DC universe.

    Now compare that A list DC character to Deadpool, a C or D list comic book hero. That's like expecting a Swampthing game to be great. The idea for Deadpool was to go after the adults who like the character, because the narrative and other points in the game were not meant for children.

    If Marvel does decide to work with or buy out a game developer, then we will see a true fight at the markets. It just becomes who do they choose to put in the game.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 6:22 PM, excelsior07 wrote:

    This is not the only area where DC wins, its TV shows have been better and its animated films are miles ahead of the Marvel stuff

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 7:02 PM, Allend406 wrote:

    I don't think its that big of a win marvel doesn't look like there playing to win video game sales if they were they wouldn't let Activision/sega make there games. If there was an iron man game done right game over they would be right back in.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 7:28 PM, OneTw0 wrote:

    They may have won a Battle. But they are losing the War.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 8:45 PM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    The DC/WB TV and straight-to-video animated stuff is practically nickels and dimes compared to the kind of money Marvel movies make though, so again, I'm sure they're not losing sleep over the three million people that watch "Arrow" every week and the few hundred thousand units of whatever the new animated JLA movie are sold. Yes, the recent Batman movies were good and they made serious bank, but if DC was it's own studio, they'd be like MGM was, where they were banking on a big Bond movie every couple of years, hoping something would work out in the meantime, and when nothing did, they were screwed. It's so hard to believe that WB continues to mismanage any DC property that isn't Batman, while Marvel was a company that was going through bankruptcy 15 years ago whose sole folm character that was worth a damn was BLADE, and now they're one of the world's biggest brands, thriving under the (relatively) new ownership of possibly THE biggest brand, who unlike WB ruling over DC, takes the "if it ain't broke..." approach to Marvel's running of things.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 8:58 PM, jax34 wrote:

    Marvel tries to put way to many characters in their games and movies. I like a few cameos in the movies but not full supporting characters. As for the games like I said too many characters, look at the Marvel Alliance series, unless you are having a gaming party or playing video games with your family then its pretty pointless to have a 4 player co-op game. Also, Marvel should stop making games when their movies come out, like Iron Man and Thor. DC has Batman....which will never get old for people. DC also take their time when it comes to releasing games and movies, when it comes to forming Justice League DC will dominate over Marvel.

  • Report this Comment On March 07, 2014, at 10:12 PM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    Please don't confuse "taking their time" with possibly "still don't know how to make it work". I'm sure it's not a calculated decision on WB's part to keep falling further and further behind in the superhero movie arms race. When/if they get their act together, it could be the next "Dark Knight", but it also runs the risk of being the next "Superman Returns", where years and years were spent developing something, only for that thing to not be what anyone was really wanting, leading to several MORE years of trying again to get it right and ending up with something that's at least "not bad".

  • Report this Comment On March 08, 2014, at 3:09 AM, cypress555 wrote:

    dc is better at the tv medium and direct to video cartoon movie than marvel and video games but movies really only batman rules for dc, whereas marvel has a lot of characters making billions of dollars

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Tim Beyers

Tim Beyers first began writing for the Fool in 2003. Today, he's an analyst for Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. At, he covers disruptive ideas in technology and entertainment, though you'll most often find him writing and talking about the business of comics. Find him online at or send email to For more insights, follow Tim on Google+ and Twitter.

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