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Microsoft backing off from plans for large Xbox original programming push

Posted on July 17, 2014 AT 11:15am

As part of the restructuring work by new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the company has decided to cancel the majority of its plans to develop original video content for its Xbox platforms.

During the announcement and launch of its Xbox One platform, Microsoft originally revealed a huge push for “premium, original content” to be offered up on not only the company’s new console, but also the Xbox 360 and other Microsoft platforms. That initiative—handled by Xbox Entertainment Studios, a new division created in 2012 and lead by former CBS executive Nancy Tellem—would have seen the production of twelve committed projects, such as Humans (a “bold new drama” co-produced with UK broadcaster Channel 4), Deadlands (a show based on the pen-and-paper RPG by the same name), and a new comedy/variety half hour show created in conjunction with comedy collective JASH. (The initiative’s first output, the soccer-focused reality show Every Street United, debuted on June 15th.)

News first broke this morning about the potential closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios by industry trade publication Variety and independent tech site Re/code, and was confirmed by Phil Spencer, current head of Microsoft Studios, just a bit ago.

“I have stated this before, but for Xbox to be successful, we must remain committed to being a consumer-driven organization with the mission of meeting the high expectations of a passionate fan base, to create the best games and to drive technical innovation,” Spencer said as part of his announcement of the upcoming closure. “Change is never easy, but I believe the changes announced today help us better align with our long-term goals.”

Not all of the Xbox Originals programming plans will be scrapped, however. Plans for the Steven Spielberg-partnered Halo television show are still on, with Variety reporting that Microsoft is now in talks to also bring the series to Showtime. As well, a few other projects that are already well underway will stick around, such as the Halo prequel story Nightfall from executive producer Ridley Scott, and the documentary Signal to Noise, which looked into the history of Atari’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the infamous story of thousands of unsold cartridges for the games being dumped in a New Mexico landfill.

Source: Variety
Source: Re/code


Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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