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Microsoft Game Studios

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Microsoft Game Studios (MGS), branded with current logo and moniker in 2002 (formerly the Microsoft Game Division or Microsoft Games), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. which develops and publishes video games for Windows-based PCs and the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game consoles. MGS publishes games for several Microsoft-owned first-party developers, including Bungie Studios and Rare Ltd. MGS also publishes games created by third-party developers, such as Forza Motorsport, Bioware and Bizarre Creations.

Acquisitions and announcements

Microsoft Game Studios had acquired many game development houses such as the acquisition of Bungie Studios in 2001 which gave it full control of the studio and shifted the development of Bungie’s game Halo: Combat Evolved to its Xbox platform.

In August 2002, MGS acquired Rare from Nintendo and the Stamper brothers (Chris and Tim), who owned 49% and 51% of the company respectively in what is believed to be one of the most expensive purchases of a video games development company yet, at a cost of around US 375 million. This also meant Microsoft acquired the rights to Rare’s own original IP’s such as the Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie franchises.

An announcement on April 6 2006 brought news that Microsoft Game studios had purchased Lionhead Studios for an undisclosed sum, to further bolster the range of exclusive titles it could provide for the Xbox 360 platform.

During May 2006 Microsoft also acquired Massive Inc, an in-game advertising company to provide addition revenues from their gaming platforms such as PCs and the Xbox 360.

On May 4 2007 Microsoft announced it would be opening a European office of Microsoft Game Studios in Reading in the United Kingdom (The present location of Microsoft's General UK offices). This office will be headed by Phil Spencer, who was General Manager for the games division before the announcement.

Notable products

Studio divisions

  • ACES Game Studio — Flight Simulator series, Combat Flight Simulator series and the upcoming Train Simulator 2
  • Bungie Studios — Halo series, Myth series, Marathon series
  • Carbonated Games — Hexic, 7 Hand Poker, UNO, Aegis Wing
  • Ensemble — Age of Empires series, Age of Mythology series, Halo Wars
  • FASA Interactive — Shadowrun, Crimson Skies, Mechwarrior series
  • Hired Gun — Halo 2 for Windows Vista
  • Lionhead — Black & White series, The Movies, Fable series
  • Rare — Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark series, Kameo, Killer Instinct series, Banjo series, Viva Pinata
  • Turn 10 — Forza Motorsport series
  • Wingnut Interactive — A new studio set up in conjunction with Peter Jackson (they will be producing alongside with Bungie Studios a new game based in the Halo universe)
  • Massive Inc. — A studio primarily set up for in game advertising.

Games

PC

  • Age of Empires (October 15, 1997) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome (November 5, 1998) — Ensemble Studios
  • Age of Empires: Gold Edition (August 24, 1999) — Ensemble Studios
  • Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (October 16, 1999) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Empires II: The Conquerors (August 25, 2000) — Ensemble Studios
  • Age of Empires III (October 18, 2005) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs (October 17, 2006) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties (TBA 2007) — (Ensemble Studios, Big Huge Games)
  • Age of Empires III Collector's Edition (October 18, 2005) — Ensemble Studios
  • Age of Mythology (October 31, 2002) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Mythology: The Titans (September 30, 2003) — Ensemble Studios
    • Age of Mythology Gold Edition (June 30, 2004) — Ensemble Studios
  • Alan Wake (2007) — Remedy Entertainment
  • Allegiance (March 16, 2000)
  • Asheron's Call (December 1, 1999) — Turbine, Inc.
  • Asheron's Call 2
  • Close Combat (1996) — Atomic Games
  • Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far (1997) — Atomic Games
  • Close Combat III: The Russian Front (1998) — Atomic Games
  • Combat Flight Simulator WWII Europe Series (1998)
  • Combat Flight Simulator 2: WWII Pacific Theater (2000)
  • Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe (2002)
  • Combat Flight Simulator 4 (TBA)
  • Deadly Tide (1996)
  • Dungeon Siege (2002) — Gas Powered Games
  • Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna (2003) — Gas Powered Games
  • Dungeon Siege II (2005) — Gas Powered Games
  • Fable: The Lost Chapters (2005) — Lionhead Studios
  • Freelancer (2003) — Digital Anvil
  • Fighter Ace (December 31, 1997)
  • Fury3 (June 24, 1996)
  • Gears of War (2007) — Epic Games
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (2003) — Bungie Studios
  • Halo 2 for Windows Vista (2007) — Hired Gun / Bungie Studios
  • Hellbender (1996) Terminal Reality
  • Impossible Creatures (2003) — Relic Entertainment
    • Impossible Creatures: Insect Invasion (2003) — Relic Entertainment
  • Kings & Myths: The Age Collection (2003) — Ensemble Studios
  • Links 2003 (2002) — Indie Built
  • Links 2003: Championship Courses (2003)
  • Links Championship Edition (2003)
  • Links LS Classic (?) — Indie Built
  • Marvel Universe Online (2007) — Cryptic Studios and Marvel Interactive
  • MechCollection (?)
  • MechCommander 2 (2001)
  • MechWarrior 4: Vengeance (2000)
    • MechWarrior 4: Black Knight (2001) — Cyberlore Studios
    • MechWarrior 4: Clan Mech Pak (2002) — Cyberlore Studios / FASA Interactive
    • MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere Mech Pack (2002) — Cyberlore Studios / FASA Interactive
    • MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries (2002) — Cyberlore Studios
  • Microsoft Baseball 2000 (1999)
  • Microsoft Baseball 2001 (2000)
  • Microsoft CART Precision Racing (1997)
  • Microsoft Entertainment Pack: The Puzzle Collection (December 31, 1997)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator '95 (1996)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator '98 (1997)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 (1999)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 (2001)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight (2003)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X (2006) — ACES Studio
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Acceleration (2007) — ACES Studio
  • Microsoft Golf (June 1, 1995)
  • Microsoft Golf Version 3.0 (December 12, 1996)
  • Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition (June 16, 1998)
  • Microsoft Pinball Arcade (1998)
  • Microsoft Soccer (December 12, 1996)
  • Microsoft Space Simulator (1994)
  • Microsoft Train Simulator (2001) — Kuju Entertainment
  • Microsoft Train Simulator 2 (re-announced, as of 2007) — ACES Studio
  • Midtown Madness (1999) — Angel Studios
  • Midtown Madness 2 (2000) — Angel Studios
  • Monster Truck Madness (1996) — Terminal Reality
  • Monster Truck Madness 2 (1998) — Terminal Reality
  • Motocross Madness (1998) — Rainbow Studios
  • Motocross Madness 2 (2000) — Rainbow Studios
  • Mythica (cancelled)
  • NBA Full Court Press (March 30, 1998)
  • NBA Inside Drive 2000 (1999)
  • NFL Fever 2000 (1999)
  • Outwars (1998)
  • Pandora's Box (August 31, 1999)
  • Racing Madness 2 (?)
  • RalliSport Challenge (2002) — Digital Illusions CE
  • Return of Arcade Anniversary Edition (1997) — Namco
  • Rise of Nations (2003) — Big Huge Games
    • Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots (2004) — Big Huge Games
  • Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends (2006) — Big Huge Games
  • ShadowRun (2007) — FASA Studio
  • StarLancer
  • Urban Assault (July 31, 1998) — TerraTools
  • Viva Piñata (2007) — Rare
  • Zoo Tycoon (2001) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs (2002) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon: Marine Mania (2002) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection (2003) — Blue Fang Games
  • Zoo Tycoon 2 (2004) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species (2005) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure (2006) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection (2006) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack (2006) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania (2006) — Blue Fang Games
    • Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals (2007) — Blue Fang Games

Xbox

  • 2001
    • Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding
    • Azurik: Rise of Perathia
    • Blood Wake
    • Fuzion Frenzy
    • Halo: Combat Evolved
    • NFL Fever 2002
    • Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
    • Project Gotham Racing
  • 2002
    • Blinx: The Time Sweeper
    • Kakuto Chojin
    • MechAssault
    • NBA Inside Drive 2002
    • NBA Inside Drive 2003
    • NFL Fever 2003
    • NightCaster
    • Quantum Redshift
    • RalliSport Challenge
    • Sega GT 2002 / Jet Set Radio Future (combo disk)
    • Sneakers
    • Whacked!
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 1
  • 2003
    • Amped 2
    • Brute Force
    • Counter-Strike
    • Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
    • Dinosaur Hunting
    • Grabbed by the Ghoulies
    • Inside Pitch 2003
    • Kung Fu Chaos
    • Links 2004
    • Magatama (Japan Only)
    • Midtown Madness 3
    • N.U.D.E.@Natural Ultimate Digital Entertainment (Japan Only)
    • NBA Inside Drive 2004
    • NFL Fever 2004
    • NHL Rivals 2004
    • Project Gotham Racing 2
    • Shenmue II
    • Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus
    • The Wild Rings (Japan Only)
    • Top Spin
    • Voodoo Vince
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 2
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 3
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 4
    • Xbox Music Mixer
  • 2004
    • Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space
    • Fable
    • Halo 2
    • Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders
    • MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf
    • OutRun 2 (Co-published with Sega)
    • Phantom Dust
    • RalliSport Challenge 2
    • Sudeki
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 5
    • Xbox Video Chat (Japan Only)
  • 2005
    • Conker: Live & Reloaded
    • Forza Motorsport
    • Jade Empire
    • Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
    • Wreckless 2 (Japan Only)
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 6
    • Xbox Exhibition Demo Disc Vol. 7
    • Zillernet (Korea Only)
  • Cancelled
    • True Fantasy Live Online
    • BC
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