A Walk in the BigPark: Microsoft’s Latest Acquisition
Microsoft executives are busy laying off thousands, hiring thousands, releasing Windows 7, and checking the blogs for the latest rumors from Apple. They are also busy acquiring companies—well, one company at least. On Thursday, Microsoft announced its acquisition of a small company named Big Park.
Big Park is a 50-person firm located in Vancouver, Canada. They claim to “create the best 15 minutes of your day…anytime, anywhere.” Although the company is only two years old, it apparently has something that Microsoft wants—not the least of which is a hot new game that will be available solely through the Xbox 360.
The whole situation is complicated by the issues surrounding Don Mattrick. Don Mattrick was the president of the giant gaming corporation, Electronic Arts (EA). He has his fingerprints all over the Sims, Harry Potter, and Need for Speed. Sure, he got a bit of flak during E3 2008, for not disclosing long-awaited information from Bungie Studios about their latest and greatest. Mattrick co-founded BigPark two years ago, and has since joined the beau monde of Microsoft as the Senior Vice President of the gaming division. He left the management of BigPark to his erstwhile EA colleagues, who seem to be doing a fine job. Now, they are part of the same big happy Microsoft family.
Microsoft was sure to defend itself from any allegations of underhandedness when it made the acquisition. They made the statement that “Mattrick’s role as an investor in BigPark was fully disclosed to Microsoft before he joined the company, and his ongoing involvement as chairman of BigPark was approved pursuant to the Microsoft Standards of Business Conduct.”
In his official statement on the acquisition, Phil Spencer, who oversees the gaming division, said, “We believe BigPark has tremendous potential to create new properties and innovative gaming experiences for our platforms, one of which we’re looking forward to showcasing at the E3 Expo in June," That would be the Xbox 360 game.