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Activision Blizzard buys Wii and DS legends Budcat Creations

Activision Blizzard stands firmly as the worlds largest, and greatest, third party game developer.  They say, though, that when you’re at the top, the only way is down…Activision takes a different approach to this saying.  The company feels that the only way is up as Activision Publishing announced that it has acquire an Iowa-based games developer, Budcat Creations, for an undisclosed sum of money.

Budcat Creations, based in Iowa City, Iowa, is an award-winning development studio with focused expertise on the Nintendo Wii console and the Nintendo DS handheld console.  Budcat Creations has earned commendation from games it has published such as Madden NFL 2002 and Psychonauts, as well as popular games like New York Times Crosswords for the DS and Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy for the Wii

Activision Blizzard and Budcat Creations already have a strong working relationship with each other as working together they developed PlayStation 2 ports of the recently successful Guitar Hero games, including the latest in the collection, World Tour.

Activision president Mike Griffith said in a statement, “In addition to strengthening our development capabilities on the Nintendo platforms, this acquisition increases our Guitar Hero development resources as we continue to grow the franchise and expand our global leadership position in the music-based genre”.

Jeremy Anderson, general manager of Budcat Creations, said, “We are thrilled to partner with Activision and believe that this acquisition is a perfect fit for both companies.

“Their world class sales and marketing support coupled with best-in-class execution across all areas of their business means that we can focus our time and resources on what we love and do best — creating great games.”

A term of the acquisition agreement sees Budcat Creations become a totally controlled branch of Activision Publishing and Budcat’s management team have all signed multi-year employment contracts with Activision Publishing.  In addition to this, the Budcat studio, which has already been moved twice since being founded in 2000, will be happy to find out that it will be staying put in Iowa City.

What this all means for Budcat Creations is that they have simply sold their freedom for a little (or probably a hell of a lot) of money.  They have completely relinquished their rights to do whatever they want to do and make whatever they want to make, and they have given these rights to Acitvision to decide.  This is all great news for Budcat who I’m sure will be trying to insure their new Ferrari as you read this, yet still it does make the old gamer in me, and maybe in all of us, slightly sad that one more game developer has sold out it’s ideas and future for a little bit of dollar.  With money comes a different approach to everything, and the company that would need to make great games to stay successful is now part of something a lot bigger.  Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Activision doesn’t get tired of Budcat and drop them like Microsoft did with Ensembe Studios.

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