Microsoft to Spin off Halo Developer Bungie

Microsoft plans to spin off Bungie Studios, developer of the successful Halo trilogy of video games for its Xbox 360 gaming console, into a separate company but retain a stake in it.

Microsoft acquired Bungie in 2000 as part of its efforts to beef up its gaming efforts.

However, the Bungie folks may not have been comfortable within the Microsoft corporate culture, according to a Wall Street Journal (subscription required) report:

Bungie’s game creators bristled while under Microsoft’s control, say people familiar with the matter. Microsoft has pushed into the new areas such as digital music and videogames over the past 10 years but has had trouble adjusting its culture and compensation to the entertainment industry.

Microsoft Game Studios Corporate VP Shane Kim said Friday:

While we are supporting Bungie’s desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our ‘Halo’ entertainment property with Bungie and other partners, such as Peter Jackson, on a new interactive series set in the ‘Halo’ universe.

Reports say Bungie will develop games for non-Microsoft gaming platforms as well although its primary focus will be on the Xbox 360.

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