Flush with cash from the runaway success of World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment decided to treat itself today by buying something nice. But instead of the low-level retail therapy self-administered by most people, the studio bought itself an entire company.
This morning, Blizzard announced that it had "completed the acquisition" of Swingin' Ape Studios. The deal sealed a long relationship between the two companies and Blizzard's corporate parent, VU Games. VU-owned Sierra published Swingin' Ape's only other game, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System, which received widespread critical acclaim.
Not so coincidentally, Swingin' Ape is the developer of Starcraft: Ghost, Blizzard's long-in-development first foray into the console market. In fact, Blizzard is quite open about saying the acquisition is the first step in its expansion beyond the PC market. "The acquisition of Swingin' Ape Studios takes us one step closer to realizing our goal of becoming a top-tier console developer," stated Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.
All 40 of Swingin' Ape Studios' employees will retain their positions and will be the core of Blizzard's new console team. Of course, they must also finish the job at hand--finishing Starcraft: Ghost. The game is currently slated for release this coming holiday season for the Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2.