Following Microsoft’s announcement that it is going to layoff 18,000 people, Microsoft plans to close Xbox Entertainment Studios in following months, bringing an end to the company’s efforts in creating original content for the Xbox platform. This decision allows Xbox to focus on its core video game business.
Earlier this month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioned in a memo that Microsoft will “continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox”, failing to mention anything regarding Xbox Entertainment Studios.
Xbox Entertainment Studio was formed with the hiring of longtime CBS entertainment president Nancy Tellem in September 2012. It is based in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California with the majority of its 200 workers working in Southern California and Vancouver.
While Xbox Entertainment Studios will shutter, some projects in development and production will still be produced. This includes a live action “Halo” series, which is exec produced by Ridley Scott and a documentary about Atari’s “E.T” game flop in the early 1980’s.
In a statement to Re/code, Microsoft Studios Chief Phil Spencer said that shutting Xbox Entertainment Studios was “part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today” .
Spencer added that “for Xbox to be successful, we must remain committed to being a consumer-driven organization with the mission of meeting the high expectations of a passionate fan base, to create the best games and to drive technical innovation,”
“I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the accomplishments from the entire team in XES. They have built an impressive slate of original programming and pioneered interactive entertainment on Xbox..Change is never easy, but I believe the changes announced today help us better align with our long-term goals”.
Spencer confirmed that Tellem and Vice President of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Jordan Levin will remain on the team to finish certain projects and that original sports content like materials for NFL and other apps will continue for Xbox.
However, Spencer failed to mention how many employees might be affected although the majority of the layoffs will be professional and factory positions.