Microsoft Acquires RareIn past months, UK development studio Rare has been the subject of a seemingly endless stream of rumors, all of them suggesting the company would break from Nintendo's wings and possibly join with a new publisher. Now we have the full story, anonymously confirmed by numerous credible, high-level insiders. The reports are true. We stake our reputation on it. Nintendo, formerly a 49% shareholder in Rare, had the chance to purchase the company outright nearly a year ago, but refused, according to high-ranking sources. With Rare software contributions amounting to only 9.5% of total revenues in Nintendo's fiscal 2001 year, and a miniscule 1.5% in fiscal 2002, the publisher weighed the benefits and drawbacks of making additional investments in Rare and decided against it. Rare went on the market. Publishers bid on the company. Activision and Microsoft were both interested in acquiring Rare, but it was Microsoft who won out and delivered the asking prices for the developer and Nintendo's 49% stake in it. Nintendo sold all of its shares in Rare, according to insiders, and the studio's second-party status was terminated. The obvious questions then: why all of the secrecy and why haven't Rare, Nintendo or Microsoft made any announcements? The truth is that the details have not been finalized. Insiders allege that Nintendo and Rare are still haggling over licenses, and specifically whether or not Rare will be able to purchase the properties it worked on under the Nintendo brand, including Perfect Dark and other trademarks Nintendo holds. Franchises and characters created and owned by Nintendo, of course, including Donkey Kong, will remain in Nintendo's control. An official announcement, though, is not far off. The latest word is that the news will be made public at Microsoft's X02 Europe event which begins September 24 in Seville, Spain. Meanwhile, sources indicate that Nintendo plans to utilize some of the money it made in the selling of its Rare shares to entice other development studios to make GameCube software, fund new games, and more. The company's de-emphasized focus on a second-party model and its new partnerships with Namco, Sega, Capcom and others exemplifies its change in development philosophy, and leaves no room for an expensive investment in Rare. Look for much more on this major news as it develops.