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Microsoft Game Studios (MGS), branded with current logo and moniker in 2002 (formerly the Microsoft Game Division or Microsoft Games), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. which develops and publishes video games for Windows-based PCs and the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game consoles. It also (through Rare Ltd.) develops games for the Nintendo DS. MGS publishes games for several Microsoft-owned first-party developers, such as Lionhead Studios and Rare Ltd. MGS has also published games created by third-party developers, such as Bioware and Bizarre Creations as of October 2007.
Acquisitions and announcements
Microsoft Game Studios had acquired many game development houses such as Bungie Studios in 2001(1999), giving MGS full control of Bungie and shifting the development of Bungie’s game Halo: Combat Evolved to its Xbox platform.
In September 2002, MGS acquired Rare from Nintendo and the Stamper brothers (Chris and Tim), who owned 49% and 51% of the company respectively in what is believed to be one of the most expensive purchases of a video games development company yet, at a cost of around USD 375 million. This also meant Microsoft acquired the rights to Rare’s own original IPs such as the Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie and the Conker the Squirrel franchises.
An announcement on April 6th 2006 brought news that Microsoft Game studios had purchased Lionhead Studios for an undisclosed sum, to further bolster the range of exclusive titles it could provide for the Xbox 360 platform.
On May 4th 2007 Microsoft announced it would be opening a European office of Microsoft Game Studios in Reading in the United Kingdom (the present location of Microsoft's General UK offices). This office will be headed by Phil Spencer, who was General Manager for the games division before the announcement.
It has been reported on 22 January 2009, the ACES development team behind the franchise Microsoft Flight Simulator had been heavily affected by Microsoft's ongoing job cuts, with reports indicating that the entire Microsoft Flight Simulator team has been laid off.
- Lionhead: Black & White series, The Movies, Fable series
- Rare: Perfect Dark series, Kameo, Conker series, Banjo series, Viva Piñata
- Turn 10: Forza Motorsport series
- Wingnut Interactive: A new studio set up in conjunction with Peter Jackson (they will be producing alongside with Bungie Studios a new game based in the Halo universe)
- Xbox Live Productions: A new first-party studio set up to develop Xbox Live Arcade games and digital video content.
- Massive Inc.: A studio primarily set up for in game advertising
- ACES Game Studio: Flight Simulator series, Combat Flight Simulator series and Train Simulator 2
- Ensemble: Age of Empires series, Age of Mythology. Dissolved on January 29, 2009 and an independent company Robot Entertainment formed.
- Bungie: Became an independent studio on October 1, 2007.
- Carbonated Games: Developer of several classic and casual games for MSN Games and MSN/Windows Live Messenger. Dissolved on March 27, 2008.
- Digital Anvil: Freelancer. Dissolved on January 31, 2006.
- Hired Gun: Dissolved shortly after Halo 2 launch for PC.
- FASA Interactive: Mech series. The studio was closed on September 12, 2007.
- Indie Built: Links series. Sold off to Take-Two Interactive in October, 2004.
Games released under the MGS brand
This list of games is sorted by platform and includes games published by Microsoft. For those games not developed under the Microsoft name, the developer is noted after the game's release date.
- Age of Mythology
- Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs
- Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania
- RalliSport Challenge
- Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe
- Dungeon Siege (Gas Powered Games)
- Links 2003
- MechWarrior 4: Clan Mech Pak
- MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere Mech Pack
- MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries
- Asheron's Call 2
- Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection
- Rise of Nations
- Age of Mythology: The Titans
- Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna(Gas Powered Games)
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Impossible Creatures
- Kings & Myths: The Age Collection
- Links 2003: Championship Courses
- Links Championship Edition
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight
- Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection
- Announced for 2009
- Release Date Unknown
- Amped 2
- Brute Force
- Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
- Dinosaur Hunting
- Grabbed by the Ghoulies
- Inside Pitch 2003
- Kung Fu Chaos
- Links 2004
- Midtown Madness 3
- NBA Inside Drive 2004
- NFL Fever 2004
- NHL Rivals 2004
- Project Gotham Racing 2
- Shenmue II
- Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus
- Top Spin
- Voodoo Vince
- Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 2
- Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 3
- Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 4
- Xbox Music Mixer
- Magatama (Japan Only)
- The Wild Rings (Japan Only)
- N.U.D.E.@Natural Ultimate Digital Entertainment (Japan Only)
- Announced for 2009
- Release Date Unknown
Xbox Live Arcade
- Announced for 2009
- ↑ Microsoft to Acquire Bungie Software: Microsoft Corp. announced it acquired Chicago-based Bungie Software Products Corp., a leading independent developer of action oriented co...
- ↑ Microsoft Acquires Video Game Powerhouse Rare Ltd.: Developers of Such Worldwide Hits as "Donkey Kong 64," "Banjo-Kazooie," "GoldenEye 007" And "Perfect Dark" Bring Their Tale...
- ↑ Microsoft Game Studios Acquires Video Game Luminary Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios: Lionhead’s hit franchise “Fable” surpasses 2 million unit sales milestone
- ↑ Microsoft to Acquire In-Game Advertising Pioneer Massive Inc.: Massive’s technology for weaving dynamic, relevant ads into video games will extend next-generation advertising ...
- ↑ Gamasutra - New Microsoft Game Studios Office For Europe
- ↑ Joe Keiser (2008-05-22). EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MS to Delist XBLA Titles. Next-Gen.biz. Retrieved on 2008-05-22.
- ↑ Remo, Chris (2009-01-22). "Report: Microsoft Makes Big Cuts At Flight Sim Studio". Gamasutra. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=21981. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- ↑ Plunkett, Luke (2009-01-22). "Flight Simulator Devs Grounded By Microsoft Job Cuts". Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/5137519/flight-simulator-devs-grounded-by-microsoft-job-cuts. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- ↑ http://forums.shadowrun.com/forums/thread/126659.aspx
- Microsoft Game Studios official site
- Microsoft's Official Xbox Site
- Microsoft Game Studios profile on MobyGames
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