Activision acquires Vicarious Visions

Eyeing its next-gen technology, the publisher scoops up the console Doom 3 developer.

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The indie-studio buyout continued today, with Activision announcing that it has purchased Vicarious Visions. The acquisition was not totally unexpected, since the Los Angeles-based publisher and the Troy, New York-based developer have had a long-standing relationship, collaborating on such games as Spider-Man 2 for the Nintendo DS and the upcoming Xbox version of Doom 3.

Activision has a history of buying developers it works closely with. It purchased Tony Hawk creators Neversoft in 1999, True Crime: Streets of LA maker Luxoflux in 2003, and Infinity Ward, the studio behind Call of Duty, in 2003.

But while those purchases were largely motivated by Activision's thirst for game franchises, the Vicarious Visions deal was a bit more complex. In a statement, the publisher said one of its primary reasons for buying the studio was to get ahold of its proprietary Alchemy middleware technology. Activision plans on incorporating that technology into its own tools for next-generation console games.

Activision president Kathy Vrabeck said, "Vicarious Visions' talented development team and proprietary technology combined with our internal systems and capabilities will play a key role in Activision's continued leadership on the next-generation platforms. Vicarious Visions has a track record of success and we are very excited to partner with them."

Though the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, it will see Vicarious Visions become a wholly owned subsidiary of Activison. Another part of the agreement was that executives and "key employees" of the studio sign long-term contracts to work for Activision.

Ironically, today's purchase means that Activision is now developing a game for its archnemesis, Electronic Arts. Last October, Vicarious Visions signed a deal with EA to develop the PSP version of the rival publisher's latest movie tie-in, Batman Begins.

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