Video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc. may have lost key talent at its prized Infinity Ward studio, but it scored major points Thursday by signing a deal to publish the next game series from Bungie Studios, developer of the blockbuster Halo video games.

The 10-year deal gives the Santa Monica company exclusive publishing and distribution rights to future Bungie titles, though the "Halo" franchise will remain owned by Microsoft Corp. The focus of the deal is "to bring Bungie's next big action game universe to market," according to the announcement.

The founders of Activision's Infinity Ward studio quit over a dispute about bonus payments for the game, and have since gone on to form a new studio called Respawn, and set up a publishing arrangement with chief Activision rival Electronic Arts Inc. The founders and Activision have sued each other over the dispute.

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