Before the studio closes its doors, it will complete it’s current projects, including a Halo television series.
As part of Microsoft’s recent decision to cut 18,000 jobs and restructure the company, the software giant has decided to shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios. The studio was created two years ago to produce “interactive television content” for Xbox Live, but at this point, Microsoft wants to focus more exclusively on gaming.
The 200-person studio will shut down in the coming months, but the team is staying on to complete their current projects under the Xbox Originals brand. The projects include Halo: Nightfall, a digital feature planned for later this year, a Halo television series produced by Steven Spielberg and Signal to Noise a documentary series which Microsoft helped pay for.
“Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like ‘NFL on Xbox,’ and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates,” said Xbox head Phil Spencer in a statement.
For many, the shutdown of the studio may not come as a surprise. Microsoft seems to have taken a leap into producing television shows, seemingly out of nowhere, and with no real goal in mind. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that the studio was producing 12 original series for Xbox, including a series about robotic servants called Humans.
Don’t worry – Microsoft says you’ll still get to see this.
Microsoft had hoped that the Xbox Entertainment Stuidos might draw attention away from Netflix, though they admitted early on that they didn’t know how successful their experiment into television would be. The first Xbox originals series, a reality show called Every Street United, premiered on June 15, three days after the FIFA world cup began. Perhaps because of that, few people seem to have noticed.
While television may not be Microsoft’s priority, gaming most certainly still is. Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella recently spoke to CNET and commented on how important Xbox is as a gaming brand for the company: “I’m so glad to have Xbox as a franchise, especially at a time when gaming is becoming even more important,” he explains. “The most time spent? Games. The most money spent? Games. Xbox is one of the most revered, loved brands in games.”