Microsoft has given its gaming ambitions a boost by announcing plans to acquire developer NetGames USA.
The proposed acquisition follows the software giant's purchase of Bungie Software last month, which will help Microsoft develop titles for its PCs and its forthcoming X-Box games console.
NetGames produces scoring and matchmaking services for retail and online games. The company's technology enables real-time reporting of scores and rankings, offers expanded tracking of statistics, and automates the organisation of tournaments. It will be incorporated into Microsoft's PC games, including its soon to be released MechWarrior 4: Vengeance title.
The technology will also become the centrepiece of Zone.com, Microsoft's gaming website where players can battle against each other online. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Microsoft surprised the industry earlier this year when it unveiled plans for X-Box. The electronic games console is designed to stave off competition from Sega and Nintendo, which are adding PC-like features, such as internet access, to their games machines.
Dean Hachamovitch, product manager at Zone.com, said: "With NetGames' technologies, Zone.com will offer a level of online integration for games that no one has ever seen before. It shows Microsoft's dedication to innovating and improving online gaming."
Microsoft's acquisition of Bungie Software will add more games titles to the company's portfolio. Bungie produces games such as Myth: The Fallen Lords, Myth II: Soulblighter, and the first-person shooter, Marathon. At this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo gaming show, the developer unveiled its highly anticipated action thriller, Oni, and the science fiction combat game, Halo.
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