Activision was originally interested in Rare, says ex-Xbox chief

Wednesday, 27th October 2010 15:00 GMT By Johnny Cullen


Did you honestly think it was a straight-out love affair between Microsoft and Nintendo over the affections of Rare? Think again: a certain Mr. K was involved too.

Ex-Xbox boss Ed Fries has revealed to Develop that Activision was once bidding for the UK dev studio before Microsoft bought it in 2002.

Fries, who was originally VP of game publishing for Microsoft until 2004, said he thought Rare was most interested in Acti more so then MS during negotiations at the time.

“There was a bit of a bidding war between us [Microsoft] and Activision – a war which they had won at first,” he said.

“They made the best initial offer, and Rare looked at both of us and, from the way I saw it, was more interested in partnering with Activision. I think it’s because they wanted to be third-party, independent of all platforms.”

But despite that – and a chance from Nintendo to fully takeover the studio, having owned half of it – something happened that made Activision go “cold” on the deal, according to Fries.

“Something happened between them and Activision. I don’t know what it was, but relatively far along in the deal things got cold, and we made a counter offer.

“Our bid was bigger than Activision’s, but Activision was still in control of the deal at the time. The prices were getting so high, by this point, that it didn’t look like Nintendo was willing to participate.

“So, very near the end, Activision backed out of the deal, for reasons I still don’t know, and Rare came to us.”

Microsoft eventually won out and bought Rare for $375 million eight years ago and have revamped its Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie series since as well as develop Avatars for 360.

Its currently working on Kinect for 360, with Kinect Sports being a launch title.

This past summer, for its 25th anniversary, the studio was also rebranded.



  1. DeforMAKulizer

    Oh god, if Activision had bought them then they would have been even more worse off now than they actually are. They sure must be happy.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. LOLshock94

    how is rare in a bad situation?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. LePlatypus

    @2 look at where they were 10-15 years ago, now look at them.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. onlineatron


    - They shut down a fan movie/site that celebrated their good old days.

    - They changed their iconic logo.

    - They haven’t made a great game since the Xbox days and even then it was a remake of a N64 game (Conker).

    - They are making a Wii Sports clone.

    Shall I go on?

    #4 4 years ago
  5. TreeFrog

    @2 & 3

    Totally agree with the both of ya. They were once one of the greatest studios in the UK and even in the world, but since the takeover they have been nothing more than Microsoft’s personal b*tches.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. CaptPierce

    To think these people practically created a game that revolutionized how FPS’s are. And then there’s to today. :(

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Gheritt White

    I categorically guarantee that there isn’t a Rare employee who doesn’t rue this decision.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. StolenGlory


    I agree with everything you said, but I would raise you one Grabbed By The Ghoulies to your Conker remake :)

    #8 4 years ago
  9. onlineatron

    Hmmm, Grabbed by the Ghoulies was GOOD, but not great.

    I preferred Conker: Live & Reloaded because I had yet to play the original.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Bringit

    RARE aren’t terrible these days. Not quite as iconic as they were. Nuts and Bolts was decent. And Viva Pinata was excellent. Just on the wrong platform.

    I’ve also played Kinect Sports. And it’s excellent. You may call it a ‘Wii Sports’ clone, but there are millions of Wii Sports Clones out there, and Kinect Sports is the best one.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. AHA-Lambda

    in all honesty (and i cant believe i’m saying this) but i’d rather activision had them than MS at least we’d get some passable games then >_>

    #11 4 years ago

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