Microsoft to Buy Game Developer BigPark

Microsoft announces plans to acquire BigPark, an interactive online gaming company the Windows software giant has worked closely with on the development of an exclusive Xbox 360 game.

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Microsoft announced plans May 7 to acquire BigPark, an interactive online gaming company the software giant has worked closely with on the development of an exclusive Xbox 360 game.

Microsoft officials said the acquisition will bring BigPark's developers into Microsoft Game Studios, where the team will continue development on the project the BigPark had been working on with Microsoft over the past year.

The companies did not disclose financial details of the pending acquisition. Microsoft said in a news release, "BigPark was founded in 2007 by a group of industry veterans who led the creation and growth of two hugely successful software companies, Distinctive Software Inc. and Electronic Arts Canada. BigPark's founding team is composed of business leaders with over 80 years of collective experience in the video game industry, having produced or overseen blockbuster franchises such as 'Need for Speed,' 'FIFA Soccer,' 'NBA Street' and 'SSX.'"

"We are delighted by the opportunity to welcome the BigPark team into Microsoft Game Studios," Phil Spencer, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios, said in a statement. "The team is composed of some of the most experienced and creative minds working in the industry today. The combination of the BigPark and Microsoft Game Studios talent pools will be an accelerant for growth and innovation. We believe BigPark has tremendous potential to create new properties and innovative gaming experiences for our platforms, one of which we're looking forward to showcasing at the E3 Expo in June."

BigPark CEO and co-founder Hanno Lemke will report to Spencer after the acquisition is finalized.

"This opportunity provides us with access to the unparalleled talent, resources and exciting innovation taking place within Microsoft," Wil Mozell, studio president and co-founder of BigPark, said in the statement. "We're looking forward to being part of the Microsoft Game Studios team, where we believe we can successfully contribute to shaping key Microsoft initiatives through fresh and engaging consumer experiences."

According to the Microsoft release, "BigPark was founded by Wil Mozell, Erik Kiss, Hanno Lemke and Don Mattrick before Mattrick assumed the role of senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft."

Microsoft's announcement of the BigPark acquisition follows a round of layoffs that hit part of Microsoft's games group in January. According to a report following Microsoft's announcement of layoffs in January:

"Microsoft has closed completely its Aces Studio, the game group that developed and maintained Flight Simulator, sources close to the company confirmed. Aces' other franchises include Combat Flight Simulator and Train Simulator."