WARNING: Foul language sprinkled throughout.

June 19, 2000

Well by now you should all know what happened.

Microsoft has bought Bungie.

I'm not going to rehash the actual announcements. Feel free to read about it elsewhere:

Daily Radar - Microsoft to buy Bungie: Confirmed
Daily Radar - Interview with Jason Jones about Bungie's Future
Daily Radar - Five Things You Must Know About Microsoft's Buying Bungie
Daily Radar - Diagram of what's going to be published by whom

I'd like to state a few things.. consider what follows a ramble...

Bungie wasn't going out of business... but the writing was on the wall. They had nothing really new in the pipeline for the last year and then some. Gaming houses are turning into these GIANT conglomerates. GoD was acquired by Take-Two. The PC bug in Myth II 1.0 that Bungie solved by recalling all the CD's out there? Trust me, that hurt like a kick in the balls. The current Total Codex and Action Sack don't count as they're really just repackaged older games. Oni and Halo were still a ways off. Bungie never cracked the top 10 most popular games lists. Not even the top 20. They were in the 30's or so, I believe. The 3rd game is still unannounced. The 4th game has disappeared altogether, as far as we know. I know, I know, Bungie themselves have said that they had nothing to worry about when it came to money... but come on! It's not cheap to run TWO development houses. Could they have done things differently? Of course, but hindsight is always 20/20.

Bungie, like most of the gaming industry, is realizing that the Console Gaming arena, an area that they have no expertise in, is starting to grab a bigger and bigger slice of the gaming pie. Both in press and in actual consumer penetration. You'd have to be living under a fucking rock to not see that. Mind you, this statement doesn't touch upon the actual quality of the games coming out for consoles, nor how they compare to their Personal Computer counterparts. Some people say 'fuck consoles!' but I don't think they're that bad. I really don't.

Let's say you're a small bookseller on the corner. You're known for being quirky, fiesty, but you sell good books, you care about your customer, and you have a following. But you're also always worried about the next paycheck, have problems hiring the appropriate staff, feel that your location is not primo, etc. Now the largest motherfucking bookstore comes knocking on your door. "Hey, we have this new book we're trying to sell. We like you for your askew view on these things, so let's take care of your business matters and you can help us make this thing the best it can be, ok?" Are you dancing with the devil? Of course. But is it enticing? You better fucking believe it is.

Okay, maybe this isn't the sturdiest of metaphors, but I think you get the gist, ok?

Jason has very clearly stated that it's Bungie's ('his' for all intents and purposes) decision to not put out a Mac or PC version of Halo at the same as the X-Box version comes out. The reason being that he doesn't want to divert his focus on mastering what is going to be a very new platform for him. I don't know where all this 'no platform for Halo is announced' crap is coming from. MY sources told me point-blank that it's X-Box first, the rest (possibly) to follow. Do you really think all this happened and now Bungie WON'T make an X-Box version of Halo?? duh.

All Halo fan sites are now, pretty much, X-Box fan sites. AND the game now isn't coming out for another 18 MONTHS, guaranteed! That doesn't include any holdups, delays, etc. The people running those sites must really be surprised, eh? Can you blame them if a bunch decide to pack it in?

Do I have faith in Bungie's decision? You better fucking believe it! We're talking about the people that created the games that we all know and love. How can we NOT? It's not like Bungie got new management and are cleaning house. But do I trust Microsoft? Hmm, let's just say that their track record hasn't been the best, ok? Who's mind-control laser is more powerful, would you say? And yes, I would LOVE to be proven wrong. But unfortunately, I don't have the contract they signed here in front of me. And guess what, neither do you. So we can only go on past history.

Yes, Bungie has their independance, their ability to decide anything they want, but who, ultimately, is holding the pursestrings? Microsoft. All it'll take is someone from Microsoft's accounting team to decide that Bungie's P&L is not performing as expected, and I believe we'll see the real Microsoft pop out of that lamb costume.

So the onus is on Bungie to perform, and perform well. That, to me, explains why they're focusing on X-Box. Let's hope they make it kick ass. And to some of you that are rationalizing that this now means it's ok to pirate future Bungie games to piss off Microsoft? Shame on you. If you want Bungie out on the street, you couldn't make it happen faster with that kind of gameplan.

Could it be that we're on the threshold of a new era, one where Microsoft Games finally gets it and tries to let game developers be their own masters... how glorious would that be if you could one day look back and say "Bungie? I remember when I got their games on 3 fuckin' floppies... I always knew they were going to kick ass!" And Bungie, that son of a bitch, now has a whole WING of E3 to showcase it's games. Wouldn't that just make you wet your pants?

The Bungie Community (and the subset Myth) community appear to be fracturing. Will this continue? Who knows. I do know that I'm saddened to see so many people leaving. I will miss all of you that are leaving. And Jagermeister, please pick up the pieces of your head that are on the floor... that implosion was very messy! :)

So at the end, what does it all mean? Well, I plan on sticking around. No way am I not going to be following this little soap opera. I mean, I'm a fuckin' APPLE user (and before that, an AMIGA USER! UGH!), I should be used to turmoil, dissension, and just all around hand-wringing. I actually hope to visit them in their new offices in Redmond in the coming months.

I hope some of you can remember that in the end, it's the GAME that matters, nothing else. But of course, if a game is coming out on a platform you have no intention of purchasing, I can understand your frustration.

Max and Matt have assured me that they will be adopting a new attitude... more out-reach to the community. As it stands, there are rumblings that Bungie will still make an appearance at the Macworld Expo New York. I know I'll be there.

No, I'm not trying to put a positive spin on things... I'm adopting a 'wait-and-see' position. If you think otherwise, kiss my ass. ;-)

I reserve special space here to toast those within Bungie's family that for whatever reason are NOT coming to Redmond. Tearing apart a family is a most infuriating thing to do. And that's what's happened here. Publically known is that Doug Zartman and Jim Ruiz are not coming along. Both for very different reasons. If any of you ever had a chance to bump into these folks at any of the expos over the past few years, you know how fuckin' amazing these people are. A toast to you both, and to the other folks who aren't coming as well. I got to know some of you over the past few expos and I'm truly sorry that you are caught up in all this. I'm sure that Alex, Jason, and Peter did their damndest to try to bring everyone over, but alas...

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Regular Bungie Sightings should return, soon. ;-)