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Activision Buys British Game Firm

The company pads its racing-game portfolio.

Video-game publisher


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, has acquired a U.K.-based game developer,

Bizarre Creations

, in a bid to expand its portfolio and enter new genres.

The Liverpool, England-based Bizarre Creations specializes in creating games in the racing genre, a $1.4 billion market that is estimated to be more than 10% of the total video game market worldwide, Activision said.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Shares of Activision were up 15 cents, or 0.7%, to $21.45 in recent trading.

Racing-themed games are the fourth-most popular genre of video games and Bizarre Creations has a hit franchise on its hands in

Project Gotham Racing

, a series for


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Xbox and Xbox 360. The game has sold more than 4.5 million copies in North America and Europe.

Bizarre Creations is currently finishing development on a third-person action game,

The Club

, for game company


. The game is scheduled for release in early 2008.

"Bizarre Creations will play an important role in our growth strategy as we develop an original new intellectual property for this important racing segment, expand our portfolio in other genres and utilize their proprietary technology for cross platform development," said Mike Griffith, president and CEO of Activision Publishing.

Activision expects that its first game from Bizarre Creations will be released after fiscal year 2009.

Last year, Activision acquired game publisher


Guitar Hero

franchise to strengthen its position in the music rhythm category of games.