Forget Everything You Heard About Xbox Entertainment Studios
Confirmed today by Polygon, Microsoft set its sights on shutting down Xbox Entertainment Studios, a branch dedicated to producing original programming on behalf of the Xbox brand. Massive layoffs were announced this morning by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, with as many as 18,000 people losing their jobs over the next year. Approximately 70 percent of those layoffs will come from Nokia Devices and Services division, which Microsoft acquired from the Finnish corporation and closed earlier this year.
Nadella mentioned in a statement that Microsoft is “fortunate to have Xbox in [their] family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation.” The rest of his statement focuses on the technical side of Xbox and its hardware, completely omitting the entertainment aspect they had put so much emphasis on in selling the Xbox One at E3 in 2013.
Xbox head Phil Spencer said that they “plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox.” This also happens to include the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios “in the coming months,” according to Spencer.
All is not lost, however. Some projects already in production will continue until their respective completions. This includes the Signal to Noise documentary series, the Ridley Scott-produced episodic series Halo Nightfall and the Halo television series. Spencer also adds that the impending closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios doesn’t mean that they’ll continue to explore non-gaming apps for their consoles…whenever that will be.
In early 2013, Microsoft announced Xbox Entertainment Studios (and all its potential), which former CBS Television executive Nancy Tellem was poised to helm. The development of Xbox Live exclusive content was meant to compete in the internet television trend, thus solidifying Microsoft’s hard pitch for the XBone as an “the all-in-one games and entertainment system” in the living room.
It seems now like Microsoft bit off more than they could chew with the development of Xbox Entertainment Studios. Recode reports that the division was “disorganized” and didn’t have a strong business plan, big factors in garnering very little support from potential studio partners.
One wonders if this could have been foreseen with the exclusion of Xbox Entertainment Studios at this year’s E3.
What do you think of this revelation? Is this yet another blunder the Xbox One, another “dick move” on their part? At this point, it looks as though their all-in-one entertainment system Microsoft so strongly boasted about for 90 minutes in 2013 is swiftly going to be rendered pointless before it even got started.