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Microsoft Buys Rare
September 12
, 2002

After months and months of rumors, several different sources (print and online) are now confirming that Rare will soon no longer be a 2nd party developer for Nintendo. Rare was behind some of Nintendo's most successful games during the N64 era including Donkey Kong 64, Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, and Banjo-Kazooie. However, lately have been slow with Rare and their software contributions, which only amounted to 1.5% of Nintendo's revenues this past fiscal year. This is one of the factors that lead to the decision to let Rare go.

Nintendo had an opportunity to purchase Rare outright about a year ago, as they already owned 49% of Rare's shares and were offered to buy out the rest. Nintendo declined. This is when Activision and Microsoft became interested in Rare, but only Microsoft was able to afford the asking price and pay Nintendo for their shares.

The only thing left for the three companies to do now is divide up the licenses. Properties like Donkey Kong will remain Nintendo's, but Banjo-Kazooie and other properties created by Rare will most likely head exclusively to Xbox. Now that Rare is set to become a 2nd party developer for Microsoft, there is little chance of future games being ported to the PS2 or GameCube. The status of Rare's current GBA products is still up in the air, but for what it's worth they are still listed on the company's website.  The status of Kameo: Elements of Power is still also up in the air, but in all likelihood it will at least be ported to Xbox.  The official announcement will likely be made on September 24th, the day after Rare's last (and probably only) exclusive GameCube game, Starfox Adventures, hits shelves.

The only good news for GameCube owners is that Nintendo will have some extra money to lure new developers over to GameCube. For a while Nintendo has been moving away from utilizing 2nd parties in favor of courting additional third part support, and this is certainly the biggest indication of that trend yet.

For those of you worried about the future of Starfox, have no fear. If you recall earlier this year Nintendo signed up Namco to make the next Starfox shooter, and they are in full development of the game right now. As for the other major franchises....we'll just have to wait and see.

Written By: 2nd Opp/Jared Black
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