Microsoft shutting Xbox Entertainment Studios

Microsoft will cease the production of original media content by shutting its Xbox Entertainment Studios, it’s been confirmed.

The company’s drastic reshuffle has already seen the culling of 18,000 jobs, including much of Nokia’s recently acquired staff. Now it appears the company will be aborting its wider media efforts.

“As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox,” said Xbox chief Phil Spencer in a statement. “One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios.”

The internal division was created in 2012 with the goal of creating “interactive television content” for Xbox Live customers. This includes efforts to create a live action TV series based on the Halo universe, with production duties handled by none other than Steven Spielberg.

Indeed, the latter effort will continue to be developed, as will documentary series Signal to Noise. Everything else will cease production.

Microsoft under Steve Ballmer evidently had huge plans in the original media content area. Back in 2012, the company hired CBS entertainment president Nancy Tellem to run the newly formed Xbox Entertainment Studios.

According to Recode‘s sources, the studio’s ambitions were not reflected in the way it was run. It’s claimed that the studio was disorganised, that it “struggled to close deals,” and that it “lacked a fully fleshed-out business model.”

The move also falls in line with the company’s general refocusing on games for the Xbox One platform. Microsoft’s current console has endured a rocky start, thanks in no small part to an ambitious but half-baked multimedia strategy that alienated core Xbox gamers.

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