Microsoft Game Studios Acquires Video Game Luminary Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios

Lionhead's Hit Franchise 'Fable' Surpasses 2 Million Unit Sales Milestone

Apr 06, 2006, 01:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    REDMOND, Wash., April 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Game Studios
 (MGS) today announced it has purchased U.K.-based Lionhead Studios, one of the
 world's leading and most innovative video game developers and creators of
 "Fable(R)," the hit Xbox(R) and Windows(R) franchise.
     (Logo: )
     Lionhead Studios will immediately begin creating content exclusively for
 the Xbox 360(TM) and Microsoft(R) Windows platforms. The companies previously
 worked together on the popular role-playing games "Fable" for Xbox and "Fable:
 The Lost Chapters" for Xbox and Windows, which have collectively surpassed the
 2 million global unit sales milestone, making "Fable" the best-selling role-
 playing franchise on the Xbox platform. "Fable" and "Fable: The Lost Chapters"
 enable players to make decisions that affect their character's skills,
 appearances and morality and the world around them.
     "At Microsoft Game Studios we have worked hard to become the best partner
 for the best creative talent in our industry, and this acquisition underscores
 our commitment to excellence," said Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft
 Game Studios. "Peter Molyneux is one of the few true visionaries in our
 industry, and his joining us is incredibly important to the future of both
 interactive entertainment and MGS. Lionhead is a shining example of the
 innovative and creative talent that has delivered some of the most influential
 and unique games experiences to date, and I am honored to welcome Peter and
 the incredible people at Lionhead Studios."
     "We could not be more excited about being part of MGS. They have long
 supported our creative vision, and this teamwork resulted in the hugely
 successful 'Fable' franchise," said Molyneux, managing director of Lionhead
 Studios. "This acquisition gives Lionhead the stability and opportunity to
 focus on creating world-class next-generation titles. We are joining some of
 the most incredible game creators in the industry, the combined talent of
 which will truly take next-generation gaming to a new level."
     With today's announcement, Lionhead Studios becomes the latest member of
 MGS, joining such prestigious and globally recognized game creators as Bungie
 Studios, Ensemble Studios, FASA Studio and Rare Ltd. on a team whose charter
 is to create exclusive entertainment experiences that differentiate Xbox 360
 and Windows from other gaming platforms.
     About Lionhead Studios
     Lionhead Studios is based in Guildford, England, and was founded in 1997.
 The studio's first game, "Black & White" for PC, was released in 2001, and
 worldwide sales of it have topped 2 million copies. "Fable" for Xbox and
 "Fable: The Lost Chapters" for Xbox and Windows have collectively also sold
 more than 2 million copies worldwide, and the numbers continue to climb,
 making "Fable" one of the top-selling Xbox titles of all time. "Fable: The
 Lost Chapters" and two further titles, "Black & White 2" and "The Movies,"
 were all released in fall 2005. Lionhead was backed by three venture capital
 funds -- IDG Ventures Europe, Add Partners and Ingenious Ventures. For more
 information about Lionhead Studios, visit .
     About Microsoft Game Studios
     Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of
 games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows operating
 system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft
 Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows
 ( ), including such franchises as "Age of
 Empires(R)," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon(R);" Xbox and Xbox 360
 ( ), including such games as the upcoming "Gears of War"
 and franchises such as "Halo(R)," "Fable," "Project Gotham Racing(R)" and
 "Forza Motorsport(TM)"; and MSN(R) Games ( ), the
 official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as
 "Bejeweled" and "Hexic(R)."
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:   MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
 software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
 full potential.
     NOTE:  Microsoft, Fable, Xbox, Windows, Xbox 360, Rare, Age of Empires,
 Zoo Tycoon, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, Forza Motorsport, MSN and Hexic are
 either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. or Rare Ltd. in
 the United States and/or other countries.
 Rare Ltd. is a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.