Warner Brothers has acquired Turbine, the game studio behind the successful Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online MMORPGs.

BURBANK, Calif., April 20, 2010 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced today the acquisition of Turbine, Inc., the largest privately-held online gaming studio in North America, further strengthening Warner Bros.’ position as one of the industry’s fastest growing, full-scale games publishers.

Let that sink in a little. Not only has Warner Brothers bought-up New Line Cinema, the movie studio behind the Lord of the Rings films, they now own all of the Lord of the Rings gaming rights.

Previously, Warner Bros. held all The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) games rights, with the exception of the literary MMO (massively multiplayer online game) rights. Now all games rights for the LOTR franchise will be unified under the Warner Bros. shield.

If that wasn’t enough, WB also acquired Traveler’s Tales, one of the companies behind the LEGO videogame franchises. (e.g. LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Indiana Jones.)

What will this mean for Dungeons and Dragons Online, with its unique free-to-play-but-with-paid-extras business model? Will the ever-expanding media giant mainly leave Turbine to their own devices, or will they start interfering with things? Only time will tell.

Press release [Turbine]

Warner Acquires Lord Of The Rings MMO Dev Turbine [Gamasutra]