Bungie Partners With Activision for New IP [Update X 2]

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The makers of the mega-popular Halo series have just announced an exclusive, long-term relationship with the publisher of the best-selling Call of Duty franchise. Development studio Bungie will be releasing a new intellectual property exclusively through Activision.

Quick thoughts on what this announcement may mean:

  1. With Activision’s aggressive multi-platform strategy, this partnership almost certainly means that we’re going to see the in-development Bungie game on the Playstation 3.
  2. Based on the press release, it appears that Bungie’s getting the kind of freedom and independence that Infinity Ward wanted. They’ll remain independent and will own their own intellectual property.
  3. Ever since the legal drama that’s erupted between Infinity Ward and Activision, staff from the development studio have been leaving in droves. Rumors have started swirling that Activision may shutter the studio altogether. This new partnership with Bungie may expedite that.
  4. What does this mean for the future of Halo?

We’ll have more on this as it develops. Until then, what do you think, Techland readers? Does this deal make Activision more scary or less?

Press release follows:

Bungie, the developer of blockbuster game franchises including Halo, Myth and Marathon, and Activision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, the #1 online games publisher  (Nasdaq: ATVI), announced today that they have entered into an exclusive 10-year partnership to bring Bungie’s next big action game universe to market.  Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on the new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property.  Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The groundbreaking alliance will provide Bungie its first such partnership since splitting off from Microsoft in 2007, significantly broadening its global reach by providing the resources and support to develop, distribute and release games worldwide on multiple platforms and devices.

Activision will broaden its portfolio with a new franchise from one of the industry’s most creative, successful and proven studios, whose games have sold more than 25 million units worldwide. To date, Bungie’s Halo games have generated approximately $1.5 billion in revenues, according to The NPD Group, Charttrack and GfK. Activision expects this agreement to be accretive to its operating margins as of the release of the first game.

“We chose to partner with Activision on our next IP because of their global reach, multi-platform experience and marketing expertise,” said Harold Ryan, President of Bungie. “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.”

“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,” stated Thomas Tippl, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Blizzard. “Bungie has developed some of the most compelling and successful games, multiplayer experiences and thriving fan communities, and this alliance underscores our long-standing commitment to foster the industry’s best creative talent. Our unprecedented partnership with Bungie will enable us to broaden our pipeline of exciting new games as we continue to strengthen our industry position and pursue long-term growth opportunities.”

Bungie staff members Brian Jarrard and Joseph Staten took time out to answer a few questions with regard to today’s Bungie/Activision announcement. The community manager and design director talk a bit about how the decision to partner with Activision came about and why Bungie fans shouldn’t necessarily worry. Take a listen.

Update #2:

Sony Computer Entertainment issued a statement reacting to today’s Bungie/Activision news:

“The partnership between Bungie and Activision is a big win for gamers worldwide. Combining Bungie’s creativity with the incredible power of PlayStation 3 will add serious muscle to action gaming. We look forward to extending Bungie’s ‘next big action game universe’ with PS3 users.”