If you didn't catch the memo from earlier in the week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella laid out a plan to cut 18,000 jobs from the corporation. Most of the layoffs, of which is the largest in tech history, will be from the Nokia merger. However, not specifically listed in the note was the purge that will unfortunately be coming out of the Xbox Entertainment Studio.
Microsoft's venture into original programming is coming to an end in a weird kind of way. Santa Monica's Xbox Entertainment Studios will be closed, with 200 employees likely to be finding new lines of work. From our understanding it is being said that there are no "new" projects being started up. The Halo, Quantum Break and Atari projects will all remain intact and will be completed.
There is no word yet on former CBS exec and head of XES Nancy Tellum's status. And, the only thing we had in writing from Nadella was kind of dancing around the Xbox commitment.
Luckily, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios and Xbox, sent out an official statement, confirming the closure of the studio, the retention of the current projects and the future of the Xbox brand.
In the end, it comes down to Xbox really being great at putting out a platform in which media can be contained and consumed, but it made less sense for them to develop original programming for the platform. So Spencer aligns with Nadella's vision on remaining committed to the Xbox brand as a whole, while agreeing that perhaps its own TV studio might not be the best fit. Microsoft execs understand that having internal hardware is a great idea, and especially a console that still remains the center of all entertainment in a family's living room.
We hope for the best for the laid off employees and are still really looking forward to the handful of endeavors that will still come out of the now defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios.
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