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Microsoft buys Game Publisher Rare...

  9/23/2002 - Monday, September 23, 2002 11:56:38 AM MDT Albuquerque, Nm
  By Dustin D. Brand; Owner AMO

In a rare move, Microsoft buys 100% of Game Publisher Rare, 49% previously owned by Nintendo.
  Microsoft and Nintendo are competing head to head with each of their game systems, the XBOX, and the Gamecube.

  Nintendo fans have long respected game publisher Rare because of Rares well known titles "GoldenEye", "Perfect Dark", and "Donkey Kong Country". In 2001, Rare games represented 9.5% of Nintendos game sales. So why would Rare sale to Microsoft?

  As I reported over a week ago on the possible sale of Rare to Microsoft, sources said Nintendo just didn't respect Rare anymore. They said Nintendo lost its chance to buy Rare outright, and that Nintendo was increasingly shunning Rare for Exclusive Titles for Nintendo consoles, titles which only netted 1.5% of Nintendos software sales in 2002.

  So what does this mean? Well for one, I was right about the details. The only way Microsoft would buy Rare is a clean purchase of the 49% Nintendo owned, and thats exactly what happened, Nintendo sold out, Microsoft now owns Rare. Nintendo fans (some more extreme than others) may be crying; no seriously. I know a fan who couldn't stop talking about Rare when the pre XBOX / Nintendo battle was brewing. "But see, Nintendo has Rare, they own like half of it".

  So what exactly does Microsoft intend to do with Rare? The answer is obvious, exclusive game titles for the XBOX with the all important Rare reputation. Will that be enough for the all important unit purchase draw? Often people will buy a system just to play one game on it, it happens more often than you may think. The odds of one adding another game after that are huge.

  In another interesting note, at the Tokyo Game Show, Blizzard, a previously PC Title specific game publisher announced their new game console title Starcraft: Ghost. A beautiful looking game settled in the world of Starcraft, but not a Real Time Strategy in the old Blizzard sense. The most important tidbit, SC: Ghost is coming to the consoles in 2003, and from the looks of the game, possibly before Spring.

  With projected sales of the European, Middle East, and Asian regions combined to reach 14.2 million console units, it will be another interesting year for the XBOX, GameCube, and the Playstation 2.

  The terms of the sale have not been fully disclosed, but projections are anywhere from $400 to $540 Million USD. Other terms of the deal include Nintendo keeping the Donkey Kong, Star Fox and Diddy Kong franchises, the main missing from this bunch is none other than 007. The shooting games, including Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were amongst the most successful games ever on the Nintendo 64, and a stark wake up call to those who expected them on the GameCube.

  With Microsoft owning Rare, could we see these kind of titles on the XBOX, with Online Play? That would be my guess. The real question is, where do you tell Rare to start. Or, have they already started? From being a programmer, I can tell you Rare already started.

  I'd still much rather see Microsoft having Blizzard, but Rare isn't bad for a runner up in my mind. Hoorah for Microsoft and the future of the XBOX. In the end, all that matters is that you have fun and don't break your controller by throwing it at the wall. Sometimes even that can be fun.

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