Microsoft confirms Rare acquisition

Microsoft on Tuesday confirmed that it has acquired U.K. video game developer Rare Ltd., which produces such titles as "GoldenEye 007" and "Donkey Kong Country," for US$375 million in cash.

As part of the deal, Rare will exclusively develop video games for Microsoft's Xbox video game console, Microsoft said in a statement.

Nintendo Co. Ltd. said last week that it had sold its 49 percent stake in Rare to Microsoft, although at the time Microsoft declined to comment on the deal. Nintendo noted at the time that it will retain the rights to several game titles that belonged to it before it entered into its relationship with Rare, including the Donkey Kong franchise. Rare's first creation for Xbox will be a game called "Kameo," which is expected to reach stores early next year. The company is expected to develop at least five games for Xbox over the next two years, according to the statement.

Microsoft has scooped up several game publishing houses as it works to increase the number of titles available for Xbox. In June 2000 it acquired Bungie Software Products Inc., the maker of "Halo." It also acquired "Age of Empires" maker Ensemble Studios Inc., in May of last year.

Rare's management and development team will continue working out of its offices in Warwickshire, England, Microsoft said.

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