|The Mac world's most important game developer, Bungie Software, has announced a major deal with distributor Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. Bungie, which has always handled its own distribution, will be selling 19.9% of itself in a deal which brings cash to Bungie and added publishing and distribution power as well. According to Bungie and Take-Two:
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. today announced that its has agreed to acquire a 19.9% equity interest in Bungie Software Products Corporation in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash. Bungie Software is a critically acclaimed independent developer and publisher of such popular PC and Macintosh games as the Myth and Marathon series.
Take-Two also entered into an agreement with Bungie that will provide its Jack of All Games subsidiary with exclusive North American distribution rights to four upcoming Bungie titles, including Halo, Oni and two undisclosed projects. Additionally, Take-Two will co-publish these four titles in Europe and Australia, and Take-Two's Rockstar Games label has obtained rights to publish video game console versions of these games.
Shown publicly for the first time by Apple Computer, Inc.'s interim CEO Steve Jobs during his Macworld Expo keynote just four weeks ago, Halo is already one of the most highly anticipated games scheduled for release during 2000. Next Generation Online said of Halo, "It has the most impressive graphics and physics we've ever seen." IGN.com said, "There is no doubt that this game will have as great an effect on the industry as Doom." CNN Interactive said, "Halo will take players to new worlds."
Oni, which was recently featured on two consecutive covers of Computer Gaming World, as well as other publications around the world, was named best action/adventure game of industry trade show E3 by many industry trade publications. Computer Gaming World said, "Lara Croft may have opened the door for the third-person action game, but Oni's heroine could lead the charge to a whole new generation." Computer Games Strategy Plus called Oni "fresh and unique... A standout."
The two companies also released a separate Q&A:
Q: Why has Bungie decided to distribute its products through a third-party?
A: Bungie believes that being an independent developer and publisher gives it flexibility to craft very unique products. Having access to the extensive distribution capabilities of a strong distributor allows Bungie to extend its reach into stores and markets that it would otherwise have difficulty reaching as an independent.
Q: Why did Bungie choose to work with Take 2 Interactive?
A: Take 2's management and structure allow Bungie to retain its independent culture and flexibility we believe is essential to create compelling and innovative games. With this agreement and its relationship with Gathering of Developers, Take 2 has established itself as a strong resource for independent publishers. Also, Take 2 has one of the best electronic entertainment distribution infrastructures of any distributor in North America, Europe and Australia.
Q: How will the responsibilities for development, publishing and distribution be divided between the companies?
A: In North America, Bungie will remain developer and publisher for all PC and Macintosh-based product, and handle all publishing responsibilities, such as sales, marketing, packaging, and public relations. Bungie will distribute its products through Take 2's distribution network and Take 2 will handle all logistics related to distribution. Bungie and Take 2 will together handle all publishing functions in Europe and Australia, using Take 2's very experienced staff.
Q: The announcement includes mention of rights to video game consoles. What are Bungie's plans for video game consoles?
A: Bungie plans to bring a number of its products and technologies to next-generation consoles through Take 2. We have no announcements to make today about which products and consoles this will include.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is great news for Bungie (and Take-Two). We have said it before and we will say it again. Apple and the Mac using world owes a lot to Bungie for sticking with the Mac when almost no one else did. They, alone in the Mac gaming world, gave us reasons to be proud Mac users and gamers when there was little else to look forward to except 1-3 year old PC ports from a couple of other companies (as well as lots of great shareware releases and other smaller distributions).
Marathon I, II, and Infinity, as well as Myth I and Myth II were fantastic games that were developed for the Mac and in the case of Marathon, Mac only, and in the case of Myth and Myth II, released simultaneously for both the Mac and PC. The surprising thing about this is that they handled their own distribution and publishing (for a rather entertaining and educational look at what this takes, read Coming out of the booth on... Distribution Myths and Lies). Another rarity and part of the reason they were able to release Mac games in he first place.
Having proved that their games will sell by utilizing their own resources, this deal with Take-Two should put Bungie into an even better position to move their products into ever greater areas. This means more cool Mac games, which is always a good thing.
The ability to move into the console game arena is also important for Mac users because it will once again show the huge world of console gamers that the Mac is a good gaming platform. When they play cool Bungie games on their console and find out that they are playable on Macs, and get released simultaneously for the Mac and PC, it will be a very positive message, even if it is subtle.