Microsoft to buy video game developer

It plans to acquire BigPark for an undisclosed sum

Microsoft said it plans to acquire gaming company BigPark for an undisclosed amount.

Once the acquisition is complete, BigPark's developers will become part of Microsoft's Game Studios, where they will work on an exclusive Xbox 360 game that they have already been developing.

Microsoft said it expects to unveil a product the companies have been working on at the E3 Expo in June.

The deal comes after the software giant has laid off thousands of workers, many reportedly from the division that includes its Xbox gaming platform. Microsoft has not detailed which groups have been affected by the layoffs.

The companies have worked closely over the past year, perhaps in part because one of BigPark's founders and its current chairman, Don Mattrick, is now a senior vice president in the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft.

BigPark CEO and cofounder Hanno Lemke previously worked at Electronic Arts and Distinctive Software, working on games including NHL Hockey.

Founded in 2007, BigPark is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company's Web site has little information about the work it has done, mainly featuring the types of job openings it has.

The Xbox 360 was the only console to post sales gains in March, according to NPD data, although it was number three in number of units sold.

However, an Xbox 360 game sold the most of any game for any console during the same period.

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Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
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