Microsoft to close Xbox Entertainment Studios and scrap original video plans
As part of a massive round of layoffs announced earlier today, Microsoft will not only abandon Android Nokia X devices but also original video programming for the Xbox platform.
According to Recode, Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft Studios, confirmed through a published email on Thursday that Xbox Entertainment Studios would close in the coming months. The studio responsible for Xbox's original video programming is located in Santa Monica and employs 200 people. Their job cuts will echo Microsoft's newly announced plan to embark on a company-wide restructure that will lead to the elimination of 18,000 jobs within one year.
Microsoft Studios created Xbox Entertainment Studios in 2012, and it appointed Nancy Tellem, a onetime president of CBS Television, to lead the division. One of the division's first original shows is a soccer-themed reality series called Every Street United that debuted on 15 June. For more than a year, Xbox Entertainment Studios has also been developing a live-action series based on the Halo franchise in collaboration with producer Steven Spielberg.
Satya Nadella, the new chief executive officer at Microsoft, announced earlier this month that Microsoft would stay committed to Xbox and gaming, but he neglected to mention original programming for Xbox. Spencer however has now clarified original video already in production, such as the Halo series and the upcoming documentary series Signal to Noise, will continue as planned. He also said Tellem and other executive members of the team will remain to work on those programs.
"Change is never easy, but I believe the changes announced today help us better align with our long-term goals," Spencer explained, through his emailed statement. "We have an incredible opportunity ahead of us to define what the next generation of gaming looks like for the growing Xbox community."