updated 12:20 pm EDT, Fri October 5, 2007
Bungie, Microsoft split
Confirming long-standing rumors in the gaming industry, Microsoft has announced that Bungie Studios, developers of the popular "Halo" game series, will officially be returning to independent status. Under the terms of the break-up Microsoft will retain ownership of the Halo intellectual property, but it will only be guaranteed as the publisher of the series, along with any upcoming Bungie titles in the forseeable future. Microsoft says it intends to continue working on a new "interactive series" in the Halo universe, along with existing projects such as the upcoming "Halo Wars" strategy game and the movie produced by Peter Jackson.
The September 25th launch of Halo 3 is claimed to have generated more single-day income than any other entertainment product in history, even beating out the largest Hollywood blockbusters. Microsoft currently says that it has made over $300 million in the game's first week of sales.
Halo was first revealed at the 1999 Macworld expo, where it was announced that the game was to first debut on the Mac, with a PC version to follow. Bungie was absorbed into Microsoft in 2000 however, and the game debuted for the Xbox in 2001, with the Mac and PC editions shipping two years later. There has been no Mac port of Halo 2, and it is unknown whether PCs or Macs will receive the Xbox 360-based Halo 3.
Bungie originally gained fame as a Mac-focused developer, producing titles such as "Oni," "Pathways Into Darkness" and the first-person shooter series "Marathon," which was long an exclusive for Macs and considered by some to be better than PC shooters such as "Doom."