Today’s surprise announcement of a ten-year publishing agreement between Activision and Bungie has rocked the games industry, but what exactly does it mean for both companies?
The first thing to note is that the lucrative Halo franchise will not be going multiplatform. Microsoft owns that IP and has self-owned Seattle-based developer 343 Industries beavering away on whatever the next Halo project proves to be.
Note too the wording in Activision’s press release:
“Under the terms of the agreement, Activision will have exclusive, worldwide rights to publish and distribute all future Bungie games based on THE new intellectual property on multiple platforms and devices. Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property.”
This deal covers just one IP, the identity of which remains a mystery for now. Bungie remains independent, and is presumably free to develop other new IP for other publishers. It's new IP, too, ruling out the chance of Bungie picking up development duties for the Modern Warfare franchise.
Conceivably, it could also work on a new Halo game for Microsoft.
And aside from the financial rewards Activision will reap from the deal, it also delivers a huge message. Activision still wants to work with the world’s best developers, despite its recent experiences with Infinity Ward.
And perhaps more important, one of the world’s biggest developers still wants to work with Activision, despite its recent experiences with Infinity Ward. It’s a battle cry, and one that bellows across the entire industry.