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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Anatomy of a Blog Rumor

posted by on October 2 at 15:16 PM

Yesterday, Jacob Metcalf of the website 8bitjoystick (and occasional Stranger contributor) posted that Bungie, creators of the insanely popular Halo series, is parting ways with its parent company Microsoft. Citing a friend of a friend who was in the know, Metcalf posted an email he received about the supposed split:

“So heres my big secret. You should google Bungie + Microsoft + separation this week.

You know that big ol BILLION dollar franchise Bungie has created for Microsoft, to show their appreciate Microsoft is letting Bungie leave. Of course Microsoft gets to keep all rights to the Halo franchise, but as today Bungie no longer part of Microsoft. Ask anyone who works there to search the global address book, they’re no longer in there. Microsoft was supposed to release the press release today but if they wait till the 10/6 the impact wont effect the quarterly results. However today is the actual official date and the day the NDAs expire, however you still didn’t hear this from me.”

“Apparently MS just wants Bungie to make Halo for the rest of their natural days, and Bungie doesn’t like how MS is constantly trying to “handle” everything they do; the way they market their games, the way they interact with their fans (basically the fact that they do appreciate their fans), and how stingie they are with the profits (comparable to the rest of the industry). So as of today they are their own independent entity. They’ll probably make Halo 4 for Microsoft, however hey are also free to create new intellectual properties for whatever system they want. (Even though they prefer the xbox platform)”

“What a way to say thank you.”

Jacob also posted the rumor on a Seattle P.I. blog he maintains. The gaming website Kotaku then picked up the story, and wrote:

Equip your Spartan salt shield, because this rumor sounds simply too soap operatic to instantly believe. On the other hand, it might just be crazy enough to work and stranger things have happened, so we’re looking into it as if it were the real deal. The word from the tubes this morning is that Halo developer Bungie may be parting ways with its owner, Microsoft.

Then a little while later, another post went up on Kotaku:

Those rumors surrounding a Bungie departure from Microsoft sure sound fishy, so we got in touch with some folks who might know a thing or two about it. We were hoping for either a “Yes, it’s true. You’ll find the details of the settlement in the attached PDF” or “Of course it’s not true. Don’t be ridiculous.” Instead we got a double barrel blast of non-confirmation.

The response from a Bungie source? “Talk to your Edelman rep.”

The response from Edelman, Microsoft’s PR firm? “There’s been no such announcement. We continue to celebrate the tremendous success of the global phenomenon that is Halo 3.”

Meanwhile, the forums on Bungie’s website exploded.

And now today, the website Game Informer did some investigating of its own, and posted this:

Our source stated that Bungie is “tired of Making Halo, and didn’t want to do future Halo games.” For an unstated, but significant amount of money, Bungie shareholders bought the studio name back from Microsoft. Our source also revealed that even though Microsoft will retain the rights to Halo, Microsoft also has “the right of first refusal on future games.” This means that Microsoft has the first shot at publishing Bungie’s future titles. How this will come into play if Bungie decides they want future game X to appear on the PlayStation 3 and Wii alongside an Xbox 360 release will make things quite interesting.

From Metcalf’s little blog to major industry news, all in 24 hours.

RSS icon Comments


Not really surprised. Microsoft bought Bungie for three reasons:

1) To scoop up the ungodly amounts of money sure to be produced by Halo.

2) To have a flagship game for the Xbox.

3) [most important] To deny Halo to Apple.

Posted by Greg | October 2, 2007 3:51 PM

So...are people upset over this?

It seems like mostly good things for Bungie.

Posted by Jordyn | October 2, 2007 4:09 PM

There is a great article about Bungie in the current Rolling Stone Mag. They said that microsoft emplyees have NO access to anything at Bungie...I think Bungie is better off without MS. They should be able to be more creative that way.

Posted by katie6 | October 2, 2007 4:10 PM

Greg Halo for Mac did ship. It was published by Macsoft.. however it did run like ass on my Mac G4.

Posted by Jake of | October 2, 2007 4:12 PM

Also the blog post to major industry news happened about noon yesterday so about four hours. It was around then that MS, Bungie and their PR firm would not deny or confirm the validity of my sources claim. I’ve known my source for a while and I trust them.

Like all things leaked too early their silence speaks volumes. If they would just say that "That Jake fellow must be smoking crack" than it would go away.

Posted by Jake of | October 2, 2007 4:17 PM

Thank god Bungie can finally make another fucking game. What a waste these years have been.

Posted by kid icarus | October 2, 2007 4:25 PM

I love it. Jacob is the man.

It got picked up by the Sydney Morning News too... I love you Jacob.

Posted by Dr. Gonzo | October 2, 2007 4:40 PM

Yeah I saw that. I have to get some one in down under to get a printed copy.

PS. My favorite Bungie games are Myth and Myth 2. It had exploding dwarves fighting zombies.

Posted by Jake of | October 2, 2007 4:43 PM

oni 2!?!

Posted by Drew | October 2, 2007 5:29 PM

June 19, 2000 — Microsoft buys Bungie (aka Bungie sells out).

Says Alexander Seropian, founder and CEO of Bungie Software Products, "Microsoft will provide us with the resources and infrastructure we need to continue to build great games and make them available on a worldwide scale. We are also looking forward to helping define the Xbox platform, which may soon be the world's premier game console." (aka we'll be Microsoft's lapdog, since the only game they know how to make is a flight simulator, and whore out our creative and engineering talent to keep the XBox afloat, and after the 7 year itch kicks in we'll realize we're still continuing to build the SAME great game, Halo 3 (aka Marathon 6 (aka Pathways into Darkness 7)). Then we'll buy our integrity back, and maybe make some new games, or at least some more sequels with exploding cranky dwarves and anime karate chicks. We might even make a game for the Mac again, if they'll take us back.)

Posted by Adam Jenkins | October 2, 2007 5:29 PM

Halo did ship for mac but 4 years after it was ready to be released. Microsoft purchased Bungie after they announced a mac release date and that was all you heard.

Posted by Eric | October 2, 2007 5:30 PM

I call BS.

Posted by Brad | October 2, 2007 5:38 PM

@comment #4

Bungie was being developed as a OS X first-release game until MS bought Bungie. Jobs had showcased it as a wow-factor when most Mac users will still on OS 9 and he was trying to get everyone to upgrade or switch from Windows.

Posted by JML | October 2, 2007 5:54 PM

It looks like everyone who posted in that thread on the bungie forum got banned, at least from glancing at the first page. That's wild.

Posted by laterite | October 2, 2007 5:55 PM

I mean Halo was being developed by Bungie as an OS X first-release game …

In fact, much of the games best (networking-play) features were stripped out to make it more playable on a console.

Posted by JML | October 2, 2007 5:56 PM

Every time I hear about MS buying Bungie and keeping the Mac port hostage so long, it makes my blood boil. I don't play games and I've only played Halo once, but that's just total bull shit.

Posted by msr | October 2, 2007 5:57 PM

I work in the local game industry and have friends at Bungie and I can't see the intrigue in this story. I guess it's kind of cool that fans seem to or at least pretend to care about the people making their favorite game(s), though.

Posted by Peter | October 2, 2007 6:03 PM

MS did buy Bungie to get Halo, but I doubt that it was to keep it off of the Mac. Bungie was already expanding onto other platforms, and MS needed a flagship game for the XBOX.

I'm a Mac fanboy, loved Oni and the Marathon series, but seriously, I can't imagine anyone at MS thinking, "If we don't keep Halo off of the Mac, we're doomed!"

Posted by BC | October 2, 2007 7:01 PM

That said, I'd love for this to be true and see some new games from Bungie for the Mac!

Posted by BC | October 2, 2007 7:04 PM
Posted by Eric | October 2, 2007 8:14 PM

Yeah, yeah, it sucks that Bungie sold out to the evil overlords at MS and screwed over their Mac base. But if you ran Bungie, and someone offered you more money than you could ever imagine, you'd sell out too. Don't lie. You know you would.

And now, 7 years later, they're tired of the shackles, and they're rolling in cash. Not surprising that they are through with Microsoft.

I, for one, will eagerly await what they come up with next, now that they are throwing off the MS shackles. Maybe they'll even make another game for Mac again. Woot! Or at least not make us wait 4 years for a port over from a PC game.

Oh, and yes, Microsoft was intentionally screwing over Mac users. Every other decent popular PC game has been ported over to the Mac within a few months of its PC release. Sometimes they've even done simultaneous PC/Mac releases. There is no justifiable reason for taking 4 years to port over a popular game, a game which was originally designed for the Mac platform in the first place, other than pure spitefulness. Blow me, Bill Gates.

Posted by SDA in SEA | October 2, 2007 9:06 PM

hey SDA...he comma factory called... they want their commas back!

Posted by dot dot dots are in in in | October 2, 2007 9:28 PM

Halo was never going to be a Mac-first or Mac-only game. It was always going to be PC and Mac. In fact, for the first year of development it was PC only because Apple's 3D support wasn't up to snuff.

It was debuted at MacWorld Expo...but the Mac version they showed was a port of the PC version which had been in development much longer.

Posted by Matt | October 3, 2007 5:45 AM

@comment 21: "Every other decent popular PC game has been ported over to the Mac within a few months of its PC release."

You mean like Half-Life?

Posted by bratling | October 3, 2007 7:43 AM

I don't think Mac development is a factor in Bungie wanting to be out from Microsoft.

Does Myth 2 run on Mac OSX 10.4 on PPC?

Posted by Jake of | October 3, 2007 9:54 AM

> Does Myth 2 run on Mac OSX 10.4 on PPC?


The larger point about Mac development not mattering so much to Bungie these days is correct.

Posted by Matt | October 3, 2007 2:57 PM

Comment 21 is beyond wrong. Way wrong. Super wrong. You obviously don't know what you're talking about. Wrong.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 5, 2007 9:07 AM

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