NEWS - Friday, April 30, 2010

Activision to Publish Bungie’s New Games

ORIGINAL STORY: Activision Blizzard has announced they’ve signed an exclusive 10-year deal with Bungie to publish their new franchise, marking the first publishing deal for the Halo studio since their big split with Microsoft back in 2007. The deal gives Activision exclusive worldwide rights to bring "Bungie’s next big action game universe to market," which also just happens to confirm Bungie has a big new action game franchise in the works.

While details on this new franchise are non-existent in the announcement, the news does also seem to confirm it’ll be multiplatform -- the publishing deal includes rights to distribute games in the franchise on "multiple platforms and devices." Bungie, though, will maintain full ownership of the new IP as well as remain fully independent.

"We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise," said Harold Ryan, Bungie president. "From working together over the past nine months on this agreement, it is clear that Activision supports our commitment to giving our fans the best possible gaming experiences."

Activision also included their own statement with the announcement, with COO Thomas Tippl saying, "Bungie is one of the premier studios in our industry and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with their talented team over the next decade."

By the sound of the parameters of the deal, it appears it gives Activision publishing rights to this new franchise, but not necessarily exclusive publishing rights to every game Bungie makes over the next 10 years (although that’s still unconfirmed). It also marks Bungie’s first big public shift away from the Halo franchise, which they’ve promised to move away from after Halo: Reach.

And for Activision, this is undoubtedly a big PR boost following the seemingly never-ending fallout from their deteriorating situation with Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward.

Stay tuned for more on this surprising new publishing agreement.

UPDATE: Microsoft has issued its first reaction to today’s news of a 10-year publishing deal between Activision and Bungie. Speaking to CVG, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "Our partnership with Bungie as a first-party developer for Xbox 360 remains unchanged, and right now we’re deeply engaged with them on the development of Halo: Reach, which is poised to be the biggest game of 2010." This further seems to suggest the Activision/Bungie deal does only pertain to any games in Bungie’s unannounced new franchise, as Microsoft’s wording suggests they may still act as a publisher for other Bungie games in the future. We’ll try to get more clarity on the exact parameters of the deal soon.



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