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Microsoft Studios, formerly known under the name Microsoft Game Studios, is a separate branch of computer-conglomerate Microsoft. They are among the leading worldwide publishers and developers in the gaming industry. And since they're operated under the name of 'Microsoft', they develop console games exclusively for Microsoft Xbox. They've also been known as simply 'Microsoft' (original publisher) and 'Microsoft Games' (publisher from 1999 to mid 2001).
The real birth of Microsoft Studios comes with the beginning of Microsoft itself. In April 1975, William Gates III, along with Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company originally had only three employees. In November the following year, Microsoft was opted as a registered trademark.
Six years later, in 1982, Microsoft U.K. Ltd. was incorporated and the following year, Microsoft Windows was shown to the world for the first time. In 1986, Microsoft offered its first shares to the public market at $21. At the end of the day, its worth was up to $28.
Almost fifteen years later, Microsoft released DirectX 8.0 and shipped Mechwarrior 4, developed by an (acquired) in-house FASA Interactive team. One year later, Microsoft released the Xbox, the company's first home entertainment console. It also shipped with Bungie's widely-acclaimed first-person shooter, Halo.
In 2002, Microsoft released its official online service, Xbox Live. In September of that year, Microsoft bought out game developer Rare, best known for their development roles in Goldeneye: 007 and Perfect Dark. January 2004, Xbox team lead Ed Fries left the company. His efforts helped launched the Xbox and top games such as Halo and the Age of Empires series. In February of that year, Microsoft cancelled their fantasy MMORPG, Mythica. Also, in early February the following year, the company recalled more than 14.1 million Xbox power cords due to concerns regarding a rare electrical failure that posed a fire hazard. Hironobu Sakaguchi, original creator of the Final Fantasy series, founded Mistwalker with financial help from Microsoft Game Studios to develop new RPGs for the company's next console, the Xbox 360.
Microsoft currently owns:
Microsoft Studios have developed, published and ported more than 150 games from 1982 to the present.