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Rumorbusters: Bungie is leaving Microsoft

Ross Miller

This morning we received a tip from 8Bit Joystick writer Jacob Metclaf, telling us that "a friend of [his] who has someone close that works at Bungie" is privy to inside information that Microsoft is allowing the Halo developer to just up and leave. Let that one sink in: Microsoft, in its apparent benevolence, is reportedly allowing its cash-cow acquisition to graze in other pastures, content to simply retain the Halo brand. It's an absurd notion, and we at Joystiq HQ chortled a bit this morning before shrugging it off. Then we got flooded a few dozen more times, all deriving from the same source. So it's time to address the story.

That's not to say it couldn't somehow happen: after all, there are penguins who go shopping for fish. But why on Earth would a multi-billion dollar company even think to let go of what is arguably their greatest acquisition – a developer that can single-handedly make its Xbox division profitable in a matter of months? The Bungie name alone is worth millions – potentially billions – to the company.

We've read various internet folks justify this rumor by comparing it to Microsoft's acquisition of Rare in 2001. Let's clear up some confusion here, too: Nintendo only owned a 49% stake in that developer when Microsoft bought a 51% majority. In contrast, Microsoft currently owns 100% of Bungie. While it may be true that some of the dev's employees are moving on – much as they have in the past (see: Wideload Studios, Certain Affinity, Giant Bite, Double Aught, etc.) – we're quite confident that Bungie Studios isn't going anywhere. When asked directly about the story, a Bungie representative declined to comment citing the studio's policy of not commenting on rumors.

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