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Microsoft Buys Rare 619

Posted by timothy
from the rare-indeed dept.
Phwoar writes "Microsoft have announced their buyout of the games developer Rare. After a $375 million payoff Rare will now produce games solely for the Xbox. After Rare's recent releases for the Nintendo systems bombed, Nintendo decided to sell their 49% stake in the company last week rather than buy the company themselves. Google News has a nice collection of links to articles regarding the announcement." You might be reminded of Microsoft's purchase of Bungie a few years ago.
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Microsoft Buys Rare

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  • No Great Loss (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:30PM (#4324137)
    "You might be reminded of Microsoft's purchase of Bungie a few years ago."

    When Microsoft bought Bungie, it was to buy a "killer app" for the X-Box and nerf it's simultaneous PC development for fear it would show up the X-Box.

    Rare on the other hand has a whole one game announced and a legacy of Nintendo titles. Ultimately, it's just another shot fired in the console wars, rather than a loss to PC gaming, this time.

    I would buy an X-Box, knowing Bill loses as much money as I spend on each one sold - but he has more money than me and so is going to win that war.

    • Re:No Great Loss (Score:5, Informative)

      by morgajel (568462) <slashreader@morga j e l . c om> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:56PM (#4324309) Homepage
      if you read up on the release, nintendo kept a lot of IP, including the rights to some of their classics like donkey kong, etc.

      the legacy of nintendo titles is just that- a legacy... not really an asset.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:40PM (#4324930) Homepage Journal
      "You might be reminded of Microsoft's purchase of Bungie a few years ago."

      When Microsoft bought Bungie, it was to buy a "killer app" for the X-Box and nerf it's simultaneous PC development for fear it would show up the X-Box.

      Throwing away money to assure exclusivity, same as with their acquisition of rights to FASA's BattleTech video game development (IP value, if nothing else... too bad they don't roll out Ralph Reed's BattleMech!)

      Rare on the other hand has a whole one game announced and a legacy of Nintendo titles. Ultimately, it's just another shot fired in the console wars, rather than a loss to PC gaming, this time.

      More good money after bad. Seems apparent, to me, that without their monopoly they couldn't shoot fish in a berrel. I can't recall where I've seen this strategy of spending money like crazy on to prop up a dying horse, but I do recall it's unusual in the extreme to see it succeed. They're hemmoraging cash and the estimates (from CNN [cnn.com]) are they'll get 1.5 million units into the Europe-Middle East-Africa market, and Sony/Nintendo will cover the remaining sales of 12.7 million units.

      IMHO Sony and Nintendo are smarter to leave much game development out of house, in the hands of garage developers everywhere, which fosters more creativity than:

      "We bought you for $375 million dollars from some guy who dragged the sacks of cash off to the bank, while laughing his head off, now here's a soda machine, a fax for ordering pizzas, a bunch of former Office coders to help you out, NOW BE GREAT OR YOUR'RE ALL GONNA BE FIRED!"

      It's practically a guarranteed failure.

      What next? Steve Balmer running around on a stage, getting all sweaty and telling us how great the new X-Box Solitaire is? Actually, that might sell...

  • Primates (Score:4, Funny)

    by EvlPenguin (168738) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:30PM (#4324142) Homepage
    Yippie. Now Steve Balmer won't be the only large, hairy monkey to hold an Xbox controller [donkey-kong.com].
    • Re:Primates (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      donkey-kong is trademarked by nintendo, they just licensed rare to make the game -- there will be no dk on xbox
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:30PM (#4324144)
    Considering the fact that Nintendo is quickly picking up great 3rd part support, such as Squaresoft and Capcom's Resident Evil series, this actually makes a lot more sense then it did at first glance. the register, at http://www.theregus.com/content/54/26394.html, makes a great point about the logics of selling Rare, which is what many argued was Nintendo's greatest asset. Apparently, the founders of Rare, the Stamper Brothers, are soon to leave the company, so most of the innovation that came in Rare games was to leave them. I am a proud owner of a Gamecube, and all I can say is, we still get Starfox, and we can always just make another great 1st person shooter using the 007 liscense :)
    • EA owns the 007 license now (and has since Tomorrow Never Dies). They do release some games from that license on the GameCube.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:31PM (#4324148)
    375 million? i think they paid that much just for the prestige of owning a previously successful game company. Now after they pay the cost to switching to the xbox development environment, they got to produce something worthwhile. I dunno about you, but 375 million is difficult to live up to. I think the idea it total garbage on microsoft's part.
    • I think it's less about making tons of money from Rare's games than just having the games on their console. Example:

      1) Rare makes another Goldeneye.
      2) Rare's new game makes MS $5 million
      3) 10,000 people buy X-Boxes just to play this game. Conversely, these people DON'T buy PS2s and Gamecubes because those systems don't have this cool new game.
      4) MS increases user base.
      5) ???
      6) Profit!
      • Wasn't Rare the ones who made BattleToads as well?
      • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:13PM (#4324414)


        1) Rare makes another Goldeneye.
        2) Rare's new game makes MS $5 million
        3) 10,000 people buy X-Boxes just to play this game. Conversely, these people DON'T buy PS2s and Gamecubes because those systems don't have this cool new game.
        4) MS increases user base.
        5) ???
        6) Profit!



        Microsoft buys Rare for $375 mill. Microsoft sells $5 mill in games for 4 million in profit. They sell a bunch more consoles at some unkown loss per console.

        Looks to me like Microsoft is still out $370 mill at least. Sure doesn't look like a profit to me.

      • Anyone that buys an X-Box just for golden eye probably already owns the other two or is going to shell out the money for the other two when a "killer game" comes out for those consoles. Especially if you consider that someone makeing a console purchase based on a "killer game" approach will probably have to have a game cube for zelda or a ps2 for Final Fantasy etc.
      • 5) Microsoft loses $200 per box x 10,000 boxes.
        6) Bankruptcy!
        • I think you guys are missing the big picture here. MSFT isn't going to go "bankrupt" over buying this company. This is simply a power play. Why do think they don't mind losing money selling the Xbox. To them, $375 million is a drop in the bucket. Their goal is to proliferate the Xbox as much as possible. Once it's the dominant platform, they can:
          • A) overtake their competitors much the way they did to the the PC platform.
          • B) force XXX million homes to upgrade to "new features" (DRM) for the users benefit.
          • C) control the home media platform (which the xbox is just the diving board for (at this point in time). Within 3 years, the "console" will be a DRM box, a game machine, a PC for people that aren't power users (aol'ers and MSN'ers), a home stereo, an HDTV processor, and home theatre / DVD machine.
          • D) merge the PC market; the home entertainment market; and the ASP internet space (MSN).

          The result will be one giant leap into world domination. From there they'll buy countries and governments (oh wait, haven't they done that already?). Open source will be outlawed, and consequently a revolt will ensue. The corporation will be the governor and the people will be slaves. The true hackers, free thinkers, and idealists will be outlawed.

          [ Fill in your own ending here ]

          Be very afraid my friends. Mark my words.

          MSFT Shills feel free to challenge this post. We already know who you are.

        • by brianvan (42539) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:04PM (#4324731)
          (snicker)

          Microsoft has $60 billion in cash reserves, or something like that. $200 x 10,000 is 2 million dollars (evil pinky finger to lips).

          Microsoft is well known for throwing lots of money at lost causes until either:

          1. They know for sure no one will ever want what they're trying to sell
          2. They finally get it right and it takes off like wildfire

          Most of the time, the result is #2. (I'm using Internet Explorer right now, as a matter of fact.)
  • Double take (Score:5, Funny)

    by Akardam (186995) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:33PM (#4324164)
    Am I the only person who read that as "Microsoft Bugs Rare"?

    More proof that speed-reading CAN cause heart attacks. Or (insert soft drink of choice) to be spit all over the monitor, at any gate.
  • It will be "rare" to have games from them that are "well done"!

  • by cloudscout (104011) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:34PM (#4324172) Homepage
    It's an old story. Developers aren't exactly flocking to the XBox platform and most that do develop for the Xbox, also develop for the superior PS2 and GameCube platforms.

    It's a last-ditch effort by Microsoft to take control of more game developers in an attempt to slow their continued decline in 3rd place.
    • by Chemical (49694) <nkessler2000@hot ... m minus caffeine> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:45PM (#4324230) Homepage
      What makes PS2 and GameCube "superior"? Because they are not Microsoft? Bear in mind that Sony and Nintendo areevil ruthless/faceless/heartless companies too (Nintendo to a lesser extent).

      Fact is, beside the lack of games and the silly controller, the Xbox is a superior system. If you have ever played one you would know. The graphics on the PS2 just can't come anywhere close to the Xbox. The built in hard drive is a brilliant feature. It has an MP3 (or maybe it's WMA) ripper built in, as well as the ability to play your MP3s in certain games. It's got built in networking. People also like to bitch about how you have to buy a remote to watch DVDs on the Xbox. But with the PS2 you have to buy a network adapter to play online, a multitap for 4 player games, and a memory card just to be able to save.

      Quit dissing the Xbox. It actually is pretty cool, even if it is from Microsoft.

      • Call me nuts, but no matter how great the graphics are, if they don't have any games I want to play, I don't really care.

        I'm willing to sacrifice a tiny bit of graphics quality for games with good gameplay, stories, variety, etc.

        And as far as having a hard drive, that's a main reason that I didn't buy an X-Box. Your X-Box is gonna die loooong before my PS2. In case you've never owned a computer, the hard drive is *always* the weakest point.
      • by mosch (204) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:02PM (#4324348) Homepage
        beside the lack of games
        Colour me stupid, but I tend to think that a superior game console that doesn't have games is best defined as a paperweight.
      • Fact is, beside the lack of games and the silly controller, the Xbox is a superior system.

        Hmm.. and what, perchance, do the people who purchase console systems use the most?

        Here's a hint: graphics != gameplay
        • by Cryptnotic (154382) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:29PM (#4324521) Homepage
          Sega Saturn was superior to Sony Playstation (two processors, more memory, etc). Sega Dreamcast was superior to PS2 in some ways (it had a more "normal" graphics system and each one came with a modem).

          Sometimes, the superior systems don't "win".

          • More like, "systems that succeed have different strengths than systems that fail."

            PSX pushes polys far faster than Sega Saturn. Same with PS2 (although textures aren't as good) vs. Dreamcast. 2-D graphics on Sega's consoles far surpass those of Sony's, but nowadays, the trend is 3-D games (to the point that it's more common to find 2-D emulated in 3-D via cel-shading than it is to see a home console game that uses only 2-D graphics).

            But most importantly, hype over Sony's offerings in the American market killed both systems here. In Japan, Saturn did very well against the PSX, as would have the Dreamcast against PS2, had Sega not been bleeding money, forcing them out of the hardware business.

            In short, PSX and PS2 have the Sony name to thank for their success, as well as Sony's ability to gauge market trends better than Sega. Too bad for me, since both of these Sega systems tie with SNES as my all-time favorite consoles.

            < tofuhead >

          • I don't know that I would say the Dreamcast didn't "win." No, it didn't earn Sega huge chunks of money, and it didn't smack around the PS2, but I don't know that the PS2 was really its main target; it came out inbetween the game between the PSX/N64/Saturn generation systems and the GC/PS2/Xbox generation.

            It also doesn't have the largest library of games, but it does have a number of truly great ones; in fact, games for it are still trickling out in Japan. Thousands of people still play Phantasy Star Online on a daily basis, plus DCs have no type of copy protection that prevents them from running burned CDs (at least, all but the last model of the DC), they're very popular in the indie developer scene. I can play MP3s, VCDs, and DivX files on mine, as well as play SNES and PSX games through emulators; or, if you want, you can put Linux on it and have a low-end server.

            So I don't suppose I would say the DC "won" in the sense of winning the console war, but it didn't lose at all. ;-)
          • The PSX had an internal MPEG decoder (allowing higher-quality, fullscreen playback of MPEG files than the SH2-bound softdecoding the Sega Saturn used), a 3D acceleration engine based around triangles instead of quads. Its SH2 CPUs were slower (even if there were two of them, not all games took advantage of SMP), and its overall MIPS level was lover than than of the PSX. It was also very hard to program for, as the SMP locking was beyond most game programmers, or wasn't really as beneficial as Sega had hoped. A shame, because the SMP parts were more expensive to build -- which led to Sega losing money on each unit.

            The PSX won because of its games, possible because 3rd party people had an easy-to-use developer kit which provided easy MPEG playback for cut scenes, an easier to write for 3D engine (triangles vs. quads againt, remember the NV1? It failed because it was quad-based), and because it was easier to write UMP games than SMP ones (although Yu had Virtua Fighter running with each processor computing one of the players' characters, this was the exception).

            Sometimes, superior systems do win even if people seem to think something else was superior (although the PS2 is another discussion ;)).
      • To all of you replying that the PS2 and GC have better software - YOU AREN'T READING THE PARENT PROPERLY. Cloudscout was clearly talking about the PLATFORM, that means the HARDWARE.
      • by mao che minh (611166) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:15PM (#4324426) Journal

        I think that the Xbox, for all of it's bells and whistles, just isn't that solid of a system. I have not seen any title on the Xbox that had graphics so compelling to persuade me to declare that the Xbox is the top graphical powerhouse. It is all about how much memory developers can use, how easy it is to program for, and how many special gimmicks you can get out of the system.

        For example, the little GameCube has cranked out a few graphically amazing and all out awe inspiring titles with Mario Sunshine, the Resident Evil remake, and Animal Crossing. Resident Evil has the best graphics that I have seen in a new generation game. Mario Sunshine is amazingly complex, big, and fun. Animal Crossing is just fun as hell to play, innovatiuve with it's real time clock and animal people that remember things, and interactive capabilities with the Gameboy Advance.

        The majority of game players, myself included, had jumped the gun on the GameCube and declared that it would never have any kind of real potential. We were proved wrong. A lot of people, myself included, origionally touted the Xbox as the premiere system once it hit. Well, it turned out to be not all that great (comparatively) after all.

        P.S. we are sick and tired of hearing about Halo. It ain't all that.

        • Agreed.

          What a lot of people don't realise is Microsoft is third in the current generation. Third. Nintendo is pulling away fast and though the GameCube will probably never catch the PS2 in terms of the number of consoles sold, it will do quite well overall.

          People tend to disregard Nintendo too. They're not a small company, they're huge. Nintendo have made the most money out of all gaming companies year after year for the last decade. The GameBoy Advance has a monopolistic grip on the handheld market that'd make Microsoft jealous.

          So people, when you're talking about the PS2 vs the Xbox, remember there's a tiny purple cube in the middle and it's kicking some pretty serious arse.

      • Why would I want my game machine to rip MP3 (or WMA), or play my MP3s in certain games? Or use my game machine as a DVD player? It's a game machine, not a PC. I'll listen to MP3s on my stereo or computer, and watch DVDs on (gasp) my DVD player.

        The thing is, when you are Microsoft with a monopoly-built legacy operating system, everything looks like a "blank" PC. And if that blank PC doesn't have a hard drive, damn it, we're going to add one so that we can stuff our OS on it. :)

        • One use of this feature can be found in Project Gotham Racing. I can rip my favorine tunes from my CD collection and build a custom playlist. Instead of listening to the crappy in-game music and mindless radio DJs, I can drive to King's X, Van Halen or whatever I want. I think it was a brilliant feature with a promising future.
      • Bear in mind that Sony and Nintendo areevil ruthless/faceless/heartless companies too (Nintendo to a lesser extent).


        No. Nintendo is not a lesser evil.

        http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/oddities /nintendosuits.html [gamersgraveyard.com]


        • No. Nintendo is not a lesser evil.


          http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/odditi es /nintendosuits.html


          Yes, there are some stupid lawsuits listed there, but I don't see anything comparable to enforced DRM, abuse of monopoly power against software companies, abuse of monopoly power against hardware manufacturers, undocumented routines built into the OS to cripple applications from competitors, etc.

      • Fact is, beside the lack of games...

        Case rested.

      • There's a lot of crap out there in the console wars. People treat what they bought as if it's a religious stance. If I drink Coke over Pepsi, I don't treat it as a victory of good over evil; I just like the taste better. I think the 3 systems all have strong points. I don't think any are run by mom and pop shops, so none of them gets a sympathy card for not being a faceless corporation. That said, I have an xbox and I prefer it to the others. Sony pissed me off when the Ps2 first came out and I couldn't get one. I couldn't help but think that part of the shortage was a marketing ploy to drive up demand. Paranoid or not, it led me to buy a dreamcast instead (for $99), which I never regretted. While I'd like to play grand theft auto at some point, that's about the only thing that the PS2 has gamewise that I'd consider buying the system for, and that's not enough. The cross-platform titles all come to xbox, and consistently are better on that platform (check out ign; they do comparisons all the time). The titles I'm interested in, like good first person shooters and sports games, are on xbox. Hate to beat a dead horse but I've never found a console shooter to be as good through and through as halo. Just my opinion, but there it is. I think the hard drive is a great asset. Not having to mess with memory cards sounds like a small thing but once you've used it, you wonder why you'd ever have to handle saving any other way. I used to juggle between 4 cards on my dreamcast and it was a pain in the ass. Listening to your own music while playing games in also fantastic. I start to look down on games that don't offer this feature. A lot of people bash the xbox because they think the console they bought is some sort of religious expression or something, or they hate Microsoft. Well, a console is just a console, and if it does what you want better than others, offers more for you money than others, looks and sounds better than other, and plays more of the games that you want than others, then that's probably a good console for you. It's totally up to the individual of course, so there's no way to objectively say what is the best console. I just wish people would calm down a little and not act like their like or dislike of a console has any real meaning to the rest of the world.
      • I realize this borders opinion and fact, but I think what makes a console superior is the quality of the titles. One thing we can probably both agree on is that people who have written for the PS1 have a great deal of experience working with the particular mindset of Sony engineers and style, so it probably didn't take long for the 3rd party developers to take advantage of the nuances that would exist in any system. In this case, the PS2.

        This can't be said about Microsoft, and it has nothing to do with their evil quotient. =)
      • Yes, the built in heard drive is a great feature. MP3 rippers are nice. You bought a console for the mere fact that it had a hard drive and an MP3 ripper? I'm sorry.

        Yes, it has better graphics capability than the PS2. Of course, so did the Dreamcast vs the Playstation and the Nintendo 64. Didn't save Sega any. Yes, I have played many an Xbox game. Matter of fact, I helped set up the Xbox demo stand at my local game store when they finally got their demo machine in. I didn't notice a whole lot of difference on any regular NTSC TV between it and the PS2's graphics capability. Fewer noticable polygons. However, I can't tell any difference between the graphics quality of a GameCube and an Xbox on a regular NTSC TV, which the vast majority of the planet still has. You can afford an HDTV? In this economy? Wow, man, good for you. Go wild.

        Yes, it has built-in networking. However, as many news outlets have made us aware of, not many people have broadband. Many of those that do are not allowed to have more than one machine connected to their broadband service, and don't have the knowhow, funds, or both to set up an internal network and hide that from their ISP. You're going to buy broadband just to play Xbox games online? If someone has the cash to be throwing at a broadband internet connection every month, they'll have the ability to save up for the network adapter. If they don't want it, they don't need it. Need 4 player out of the box? Ever actually look at a GameCube? And I bought an off-brand multitap for my PS2 for $10 at my local EB and it works just fine. My friends even chipped in for their own GameCube controllers. They didn't have to for the multitap, because Sony had the foresight to allow old-school PSX controllers to be used on the PS2, so they just bring those with them.

        This is all, not to mention the fact that you can play each and every PSX game ever made on a PS2, loading faster and sometimes better looking than the original with the Fast Disc and Texture Smoothing options.

        "...beside the lack of games and the silly controller"

        So what do you use to actually PLAY these games with, eh? Your mind? Oh yeah, the silly controller, that's right. If I can't stand the controller or my hands hurt using it, I ain't gonna play with it. And if there aren't any games, what exactly are you going to play ON your Xbox? Slight oversight? Maybe? I actually can name you a handful of games that I'd love to play that are coming out Xbox only, but I can name at least 20 that are PS2 only already, and more to come. And as far as GameCube is concerned, do you think there will ever be a Mario, Metroid, Resident Evil (Capcom signed the series remakes over the the GameCube), Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, or Pokemon for the Xbox?

        Yes, Nintendo, Sony, and even Sega for that matter, are heartless, faceless, evil, and ruthless corporate bastards. So are all large game corporations in case you haven't been watching. However, they aren't trying to extend any monopolistic empire to, say, computing operating systems. That's enough for me. It's enough for a lot of people.
    • Microsoft is using their HUGE cash reserves illegally gotten through monopoly practices and basically buying support for their game consol. Tell me how that is not abusing monopoly power (and yet again breaking anti-trust laws)?
  • by bluecalix (128634) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:35PM (#4324179) Homepage Journal
    What a shame. My favorite part of Nintendo was always their stable of "different" games. They excelled at making games that weren't just copies of games I could play on my pc. And rare seemed to be the slightly twisted brother of nintendo. Anyone remember blast corp? Really one of the most fun games in a LONG time. Oh well, time marches on, maybe another group of spirited storytellers and gamesmiths will take their place at the nintendo table. Miyamoto cannot do it alone.
    • The only good game that is due for GCN from Rare is Starfox Adventures. First-party games that overshadow any recent Rare developments are Pikmin, Mario Sunshine, Animal Crossing, Metroid, Zelda..

      And let's not forget that Capcom has given Nintendo the sole rights to the Resident Evil series. There are a ton of good games available now and some in the pipeline, so this news doesn't bother me as a GCN owner.
  • by bezza (590194)
    considering Rare was one of Nintendo's boutique software houses. I hate to say it...but what have Nintendo got now to attract the "mature" gamer? Or was this part of their strategy to focus entirely on the pre-teen->teen market? The capital gained from selling Rare would difinitely help with some other endeavours.

    Its getting harder and harder for Nintendo by the day...I hope they don't fall like Sega did.

    • by Ryan Amos (16972) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:01PM (#4324345)
      What are you talking about Nintendo going under? You seem to forget Nintendo's main cash cow-- the Gameboy. They have no serious competition here and this is the most popular console ever (I still count it as the same console because I can play the copy of Tetris I got in 1989 on my GBA.) Even if the GC totally flops (which it's not, they're not #1 but they're a solid #2) Nintendo still has the GBA to fall back on. I, for one, would not cry if the big N moved to be a software-only company.
  • by FyRE666 (263011) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:41PM (#4324211) Homepage
    Nintendo aren't stupid - they have the latest titles from Rare ready for the xmas sales, but there's no way anything will come from there in time for xmas for the xbox! Add to this the fact the Stamper brothers (who founded Rare, and before that Ultimate) are leaving the company which will send its stock price into a nose dive.

    MS have bought a lemon. Nice!
  • Rare hasnt released that many blockbusters recently. They wore great long ago but recently its been mostly trash and few gems.

    This seems as a panic attempt to keep developers on Xbox since its release has been anything but successful. If they dont gain more share developers will develop mainly for Sony and Nintendo instead. To buy developers is just to buy time.

    For a developer its the size of the platform that counts the most.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They're done.

    I can't wait for "Clippy Kong".

  • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:42PM (#4324219) Journal
    Slashdot: "Google News has a nice collection of links [google.co.uk] to articles regarding the announcement."

    Google News: "Microsoft Buys Rare [slashdot.org] - Slashdot - 11 minutes ago"

    Slashdot: "Google News has a nice collection of links [google.co.uk] to articles regarding the announcement."

    Google News: "Microsoft Buys Rare [slashdot.org] - Slashdot - 11 minutes ago"

    Slashdot: "Google News has a nice collection of links [google.co.uk] to articles regarding the announcement."

    Google News: "Microsoft Buys Rare [slashdot.org] - Slashdot - 11 minutes ago"

    Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

  • Those who have been around the gaming scene for a while may be interested in the fact that the folks behind Rare were also the same people behind Ultimate (Play the Game) [merseyworld.com], a popular game development house in the early to mid 1980's.
  • I weep for the loss of all future Rare products to the XBox.
  • by second class skygod (242575) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:53PM (#4324294)
    375 megabucks is a lot of cash. MS has had significant problems marketing XBox. It seems to me that they must be really worried about losing a source of games.

    Does anyone know how many employees work at Rare? I know it's not distributed evenly but they must be pretty happy about it on the average.
    Especially so for those whose stock is already vested.

    -scsg
  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:55PM (#4324306) Homepage Journal
    People who liked Rare that much have already purchased a Gamecube. And if they do like Rare that much, they probably like Nintendo as well-enough that they aren't going to sell that Gamecube.

    Anyway, Rare doesn't have as much of a pedigree as Microsoft probably thinks it does. I'm betting most people associate Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong, etc more with Nintendo than Rare. They are going to have to shout from the makers of perfect dark on any future commercial advertising Xbox titles by Rare if they expect anyone to care, or even notice...

  • Foolish Purchase (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rura Penthe (154319) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:55PM (#4324307)
    Not to sound like an MS hater here, but this is an incredibly poor purchase. Rare as a development studio was cut loose by Nintendo because (in addition to making up very little of Nintendo's revenue for 2001 and 2002 prior to Starfox) they missed deadlines and put out subpar games (DK64, Jet Force Gemini, Perfect Dark (if you can't stand the horrid framerate)) for the last several years. To make matters worse, most of the decent devs (including the founders) have left to form their own companies and Rare itself only has two or three marketable licenses (Perfect Dark, Banjo Kazooie, and Conker (maaaaybe)). So MS is paying hundreds of millions for a game developer recently known for its overbudget, late games that aren't very good and doesn't even get any big licenses in the bargain. Why didn't they just sink $10 mil into 20 or 30 dev houses to fund a bunch of big exclusive games? They'd get more results faster and almost assuredly higher quality.

    With the delay of Panzer Dragoon Orta to 2003 the Xbox's Christmas lineup is also fairly lackluster and sales this Xmas could be very poor. Of course, if MS keeps pumping marketing dollars into it maybe they can convince America that the console is doing great.

    I'm not trying to start a console flamewar (I go where the games are in most cases, and I will probably pick up an Xbox at the next price drop), but with Xbox's sales figures for Japan (the-magicbox.com) showing that in some weeks even the PSOne is outselling it, I wonder if the Japanese game studios will be abandoning what little development they already do on Xbox and concentrating on the two surviving consoles instead.
    • I agree with you for the most part, but I must say that Perfect Dark is a great game. Frame rate could have been quicker, but that was just because they pushed the N64 hard.

      I keep an N64 around just for that one to be played in multi-player mode once in a while.

  • by jvmatthe (116058) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:59PM (#4324327) Homepage
    I think the obvious next move is for Microsoft to buy Sega. Their own developers have some ok sports games, but Sega would buy them some real sports clout along with some younger generation appeal that they could use to balance their library of titles.

    Just think, if they could claim exclusive rights to Sega's line of sports games, including NFL, NBA, NHL, baseball, tennis, and college football lines. They could be the premiere sports games for the Xbox Live online service, for example. And a Virtua Fighter would put Xbox squarely in the sights of many fighting game fans, since then DoA, VF, and Soul Calibur would all be available on one system. Add online opponents and tourneys, and they could potentially hand out more hats of money. Then with Sonic and those cute little Super Monkey Balls, they'd have a possible in with children and youngsters that aren't necessarily into the older games. Make all of these exclusives, and the Xbox looks a whole lot better of an investment.

    You know they've thought about it, and now we know the stakes: $3.75e8 dollars for someone like Rare that doesn't have the rep or the library of Sega. Sega's gotta be worth what...twice that...in franchises and development talent alone.

    While we're talking numbers, how many units of games does Rare have to sell to be worth it to MicroSoft? Or, perhaps more importantly, how many monthly online subscriptions? And how long is it going to take them to pay it off, given that they're going to incur more costs, in terms of development and promotion, just to get a game out the door?

    The usual disclaimer: I'm not an Xbox or MS fan. Read my blog and you'll see where my interests lie. I'm just commenting on the situation as I see it...
    • by CondeZer0 (158969) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:36PM (#4324573) Homepage
      > I think the obvious next move is for Microsoft to buy Sega.
      They already have tried:
      http://www.redherring.com/insider/2002/0716/sega07 1602.html [redherring.com]

      And after that they tried to buy Nintendo for 25Bn(I think to remember 2.5Bn,
      but in the news sites I found it says 25Bn!):
      http://www.vnunet.com/News/1131308 [vnunet.com]
      http://gameinfowire.com/news.asp?nid=263 [gameinfowire.com]

      I don't remember much, I just found this links by looking in google for less
      than one minute, I'm sure you can find some better info elsewhere in the net.

      My favorite part of this history is the answer of Nintendo: "We weren't sure
      what to think when Microsoft made the offer. In fact I was surprised - we
      didn't need the money. I thought it was a joke."

      hehehe...

      I wonder what will they try next, it's obvious that they are desperate for
      finding some other business now that the software licensing is going to become
      obsolete thanks to opensource, I think they should stick to what(only) they are
      good at: mouses ;)

      \\Uriel
    • I doubt it will happen since Sega is currently in bed with Nintendo. There is a reason you are seeing Sonic on the GBA and GC lately.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:00PM (#4324336) Homepage
    ...looks like game companies aren't all that Microsoft has been able to buy [tripod.com].

  • rare's best game (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sirinek (41507) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:04PM (#4324359) Homepage Journal
    and one they should update for the XBOX.....

    R/C Pro-AM!!!! :)

    sorry, had to. i looove that game.

    siri
    • Yeah, but I bet you the orange car would still cheat every 4th race or so.
    • Re:rare's best game (Score:4, Informative)

      by Explo (132216) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @02:51AM (#4325679)

      and one they should update for the XBOX..... R/C Pro-AM!!!! :)


      IMO Rare's best game was Underwurlde [ultimate-wurlde.com], produced when they were still called Ultimate and produced games for 8-bit computers. ;) Sabre Wulf [ultimate-wurlde.com] was not bad either, and I guess Knight Lore [ultimate-wurlde.com] was pretty good, but I never saw it. All these games were mentioned on rareware.com, but sadly the information seems to have disappeared since. But you can get all that information on the Ultimate-Wurlde [ultimate-wurlde.com] and get either nostalgic, enlightened about history or just plain bored. ;)

  • by Tofuhead (40727) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:07PM (#4324374)

    Nintendo sells their shares in Rare and top-off their coffers. They win.

    Rare makes off with MS money, the finest money that money can buy. They win too.

    MS gets a development house that used to turn out hits, but has floundered in recent years. Tim and Chris Stamper are leaving. That leaves Conker, Perfect Dark, and that's about it. No Donkey Kong or anything else owned by Nintendo.

    About the only _real_ downside to Nintendo consumers (IMO) is that any sort of RC Pro-Am sequel will be an xbox exclusive. Boohoo. On a lot of the gamer website forums, this has been a huge non-issue for the past few days, since Rare hasn't been playing with the big boys in terms of game quality/quantity for quite a while.

    < tofuhead >

  • If they buy Rockstar [rockstargames.com], THAT would be impressive. I'd consider an X-Box if they did that. Instead, they're buying Rare, who's hot new game [rareware.com] sounds like some really, really horrible, drug-induced nightmare belonging to a 5 year old, combined with every other generic Japanimation-type game ever made.
  • by Dan Crash (22904) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:12PM (#4324406) Journal
    Now Microsoft will be able to say what we already knew: "If it's good and it's Microsoft, it's gotta be Rare!"
  • What's so Rare about that?
  • Please Buy an X-Box! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by chill (34294)
    Please! Everyone buy an X-Box for the holidays, just don't buy any games. Hack it into a nice little Linux box.

    With MS losing between $100 - $200 per machine, they are counting on people buying lots of games to make their money back.

    Take the opportunity to get a nice $199 DNS, e-mail or web server.

    Microsoft has money to burn -- give them the opportunity.
    • by jgalun (8930)
      I think we've been over this already in other threads - buying an X-Box to screw over Microsoft is not a good idea. Reasons:

      1) The amount of money Microsoft loses per machine is unknown right now, but the number has probably shrunk considerably from initial estimates made a year ago due to economy of scale.
      2) Microsoft has a LOT of money in cash. They can afford to lose a few billion if they think it's in their long-term good.
      3) In the long-term, Microsoft selling a lot of X-Boxes that nobody buys games for could screw them over...But in the short-term if X-Box hardware sales suddenly spiked, developers would assume that gamers were buying these X-Boxes. That would make more developers make X-Box games, which would make more actual gamers buy the X-Box, which would increase X-Box games sales, which would help Microsoft take over the video game console market long-term.
    • by Tofuhead (40727)

      Brilliant. Let's all bankrupt MS by giving them $200 and inflating the sales figures that they show to developers and investors. That'll learn 'em!

      < tofuhead >

  • Here goes microsoft with their dirty tactics again... sigh.

    not saying that SONY would not, if they had the money to do it -- oh wait, they DO have the money to buy a couple outside developers just for shits and giggles, but didn't.

    Same story has happened before, guys... I remember back in the days when M$ literally parked a "hiring booth" in front of Borland and basically said "if you sign up right now, we give you 150% of what you are making and then a huge bonus (6 figures, maybe more)." look what happened to Borland.

    As much as the Xbox is a better system (technology-wise) I would not buy it on principle. doing so is to encourage more of the bloodshed in the world caused by M$ that's already way-too-much. to paraphrase it -- Microsoft is the sickle that harvest the souls of computing.

    Anyone who don't think you are suffering because of this game developer buy-out thing: remember: Halo was supposed to be released for PC first. and now Halo 2 is about to come out... where is the PC version?
    • by spectecjr (31235) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:21PM (#4324820) Homepage
      not saying that SONY would not, if they had the money to do it -- oh wait, they DO have the money to buy a couple outside developers just for shits and giggles, but didn't.

      What kind of crack are you smoking, exactly?

      Nintendo bought Rare, as well as a few other houses.

      Sony bought Psygnosis (Wipeout), Square (Final Fantasy; major shareholder), Polyphony Digital (the guys who did Gran Turismo), Incog (Twisted Metal), Verant (Everquest), Red Zone (989 Sports), Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot), The Station (Online game center), RTIME Inc. (online game infrastructure company), Millennium (Medievil), Arc Entertainment Inc., Sugar and Rockets Inc. (Kurushi), and Contrail Inc.
      (Wild Arms).

      So, I guess Sony's customers are suffering because of this game buy out thing?

      Or do you still claim that sony DIDN'T do this?
      • ..., Square (Final Fantasy; major shareholder), ...


        At least in this case, they were buying into the company to help them out of the sticky situation they got themselves into by making a poor and very expensive film, which put Square into dire financial difficulties. Can't blame Sony for that, IMHO :)
    • I always find it funny when someone thinks they are so insightful and important, then they get to have their own ignorance thrown back in their face. Naughty Dog, Incog, Red Zone, Psygnosis, etc. How many game developers would you like me to list that Sony has purchased?

      Let me guess - it's not "dirty tactics" when they do it, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    1) Microsoft buys Rare
    2) Makes Games
    3) Profits.
    4) Slashdotters get pissed because the question mark is missing.
  • I'm trying to figure out if this affects any games I'd be interested in. What exactly is "Rare" - or, I mean, what games do they make. What games did they make?
  • by Clue4All (580842)
    Surely I wasn't the only person who feared that Microsoft had finally acquired the Holy Grail?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It amuses me when stupefyinly large purchases are made of software dev houses.

    You can't Buy the TALENT!!! The talent flees! Even with golden handcuffs and stock options most flee like hell and create other startups or go contractor.

    The companies languish. Halo took eternity to ship. Still is 3 years late for mac system! It was demoed in 1999.

    Its hilarious.

    The "visionaries" "art directors" "designers" all have locks of stock as do the vps, but the core grunt talent-gods do not... and they flee.

    then the companies churn through "Directors of Technology" one per year like clockwork as they flounder.

    ALL GOOD GAMES are made by high IQ people with a knack for talent at game coding and these quirky guys are rarely compensxated correctly or despise golden handcuffs and shackles... many of which do not AUTO-VEST if the companies are sold!

    The idiotic firms think lack of auto-vesting options will keep their talented prima-donnas.... WRONG!!!!!! They do not do everyting in life for money.

    They get the hell out and fast.

    Then the companies imploded.

    Companies REFUSE to give proper respect and rewards to the most vital talent, primarily from IQ envy, or agism against youth.

    Its the "peter principle" incarnate.

    I have kissed off millions of dollars a few times in my life. And i dont give a rip. I laugh at the dead companies I once worked for. All dead dead dead!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (and their stock worthless to the very end).

  • I have been submitting stories on this for the past week but they have been based on rumors. Only NOW did MS release the press statement. Slashdot was right not to post stories based on rumors of MS buying Rare.
  • by augros (513862) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @10:55PM (#4324680)
    I thought it read "Microsoft Buys Rare Sofa". Just the thought of Lazy-Boy XP makes me shudder.
  • Please, people, stop saying "they're abusing their power of monopoly!" Nintendo and Sony have been kicking the crap out of MS in the console arena. They can play the same marketing games that everyone else does as long as their console isn't most of the console market.
  • nintendo executives have given themselves a $375 million dollar bonus, and nintendo has filed for bankruptcy.
  • Exclusivity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Winterblink (575267) on Wednesday September 25, 2002 @12:24AM (#4325183) Homepage
    I have two thoughts on this.

    1. Now all of a sudden a lot of really good games that may have been produced and released on different platforms are only going to be for the X-Box. I was hoping to see the PS2 doing a sequel to Perfect Dark or Conker's but I guess that won't happen.

    2. This is EXACTLY what Microsoft needs for the floundering X-Box. So far the machine has had only a handful of decent games that are exclusive to the machine, and a whole lot being developed for all platforms. If I own a PS2, why should I bother getting an X-Box for a game that is available on my machine? The more imaginative developers jump on to the X-Box bandwagon (or in this case are lassoed and pulled onto the bandwagon) the better it is for the platform.

    Whether any of this is a good thing I guess remains to be seen. Considering that nothing spectacular has been heard to be coming from Rare (at least any time soon), maybe this won't make a difference worth mentioning. Anywho, just my 2c. Agree or disagree?

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