Buena Vista Games to acquire Climax Racing

Disney-owned publisher picks up developer of ATV Offroad Fury, Xbox and PC MotoGP titles.

18 Comments

Disney-owned Buena Vista Games is continuing to establish itself as a player in the gaming world. Aside from games based on its parent-company's myriad golden-goose licenses like The Little Mermaid and Pirates of the Caribbean, the publisher is putting out a number of games aimed at more traditional gamers, like the next-gen Turok or Q Entertainment's lineup of Lumines Plus, Lumines II, Meteos: Disney Edition, and Every Extend Extra. Buena Vista Games said it expects the deal to close in early October.

Now it appears that Buena Vista Games is moving further into the traditional game space, as it has announced the impending acquisition of Brighton, England-based Climax Racing. The studio is best known as the developer of THQ's MotoGP games and Sony's ATV Offroad Fury series.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Pacific Crest Securities analyst Evan Wilson estimated it to be roughly in the range of $20 million to $50 million.

"This move should be of little surprise to investors as [Disney] has made it clear that they have serious intentions in games for some time," Wilson said in a note to investors. "[Disney] mentions games as one of its primary areas of investment in nearly every presentation, and future acquisitions are likely."

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian also weighed in on the impact the move would have on THQ with a note to investors. Believing that MotoGP is not a core franchise for the publisher, Sebastian said it caters to a niche audience and has "limited blockbuster potential."

As for future installments of MotoGP, Sebastian said that THQ still has the license to the series and that he expects Climax to finish up work on the unannounced MotoGP 07. After that, Sebastian said THQ will hand the franchise to another studio or possibly discontinue it entirely.

Sony has not returned a request for comment on how this acquisition would affect the ATV Offroad Fury series. ATV Offroad Fury 4 for the PlayStation 2 and ATV Offroad Fury Pro for the PlayStation Portable are both expected to launch next month.

As of press time, Disney stock was essentially flat, while THQ shares were trading down $1.07, a little over 3 percent, to $29.80.

[UPDATE] The fate of the MotoGP series seems to be up in the air, as a THQ spokesperson told GameSpot that the publisher is currently evaluating the brand to decide if it's worth pursuing in 2008 and beyond.

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Avatar image for _Sam_
_Sam_

who is going to buy a company next :roll:

Avatar image for piecake
piecake

boo disney

Avatar image for trebl1
trebl1

"Future acquisitions are likely" I don't know if I like the sounds of that. If Disney games haven't been great in the past, what is going to make them so now? This could be a demise for smaller studios... or it could mean that with extra resources some studios could really implement their visions into their games... The soound of this conglomorate just doesn't appease me though.

Avatar image for mark_unix
mark_unix

so MotoGP coming to the PS3 then... since sony and disney have a platform agreement. and no minime78362, they won't kill a top rated game ;) only microsoft would do that...

Avatar image for wenbin09
wenbin09

coool...

Avatar image for jakeboudville
jakeboudville

...interesting

Avatar image for comthitnuong
comthitnuong

well i dont really like motogp anyways so im ok with it

Avatar image for minime78362
minime78362

If they discontinue Moto GP, it will be a sad day for us all....

Avatar image for John_of_Fire
John_of_Fire

What the hell is Disney going to do with the worlds best Motorcycle videogame company?

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MadGamer132

It is a good thing that Disney has a studio to make games, it doesn't matter if it is traditional or licensed.

Avatar image for Doolum
Doolum

Not that i have any grudge with them people but i dont think i have ever played any game from BV.Well lets see what they come up with in the near future

Avatar image for gamerchikrpg
gamerchikrpg

*thinks dirty thoughts* hehehehehe

Avatar image for Kreestas
Kreestas

nice, more lumines games, i still cant put it down!

Avatar image for night_kids311
night_kids311

well there is nothing they can do to mess up moto Gp that game sucks big time

Avatar image for TheMierArmy
TheMierArmy

hmmm

Avatar image for bryehngeocef
bryehngeocef

what a waste of money though. ATV Offroad Fury 4 is recycled garbage. Hopefully they (Climax) improve their production values and don't just churn out Mickey Mouse kart racers.

Avatar image for blackIceJoe
blackIceJoe

Great Buena Vista makes bad games. But maybe they will start making games for older people. So I think this was a smart move on there part but not sure on how the games will turn out though. I have been seeing them getting many things to lose the kids kind of games like buying the licences for Turok.

Avatar image for Dolacide
Dolacide

Disney is looking to make actual good games, besides churning out crap, wow.