Just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder at Activision. Bungie has just announced that it has entered into a ten-year publishing agreement with Activision, which will receive exclusive, worldwide rights to publish all games based on Bungie's "next big action game universe." The deal also notes that Activision will have the rights to publish said games on "multiple platforms and devices," meaning Bungie's longstanding Xbox exclusivity may come to an end.
Furthermore, the agreement specifies that Bungie will remain an independent company and will retain all rights to its intellectual property. Bungie president Harold Ryan notes that the two companies have been working on the deal "over the past nine months."
The specificity of the agreement is noteworthy, especially that Activision only has rights to publish games based on Bungie's new intellectual property -- its "next big action game universe," whatever that may be. The fact that Bungie will retain ownership of its IP is particularly interesting, especially in light of the widening rift between Activision and Infinity Ward.
When Bungie famously split with Microsoft in 2007, it was assumed Microsoft would retain first right of refusal on any future Bungie projects. It's unclear why (or if) Microsoft refused Bungie's latest project, though the company's apparent multiplatform ambitions would provide a likely explanation -- that is, assuming Bungie doesn't have more than one project in the pipeline.
Update: Added commentary from Activision's Thomas Tippl and Bungie's Harold Ryan after the break.