Microsoft’s London studio nixing packaged for connected products

Thursday, 10 January 2013 15:09 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Microsoft’s European VP Phil Harrison has announced the firm’s new London Studio, Lift London, which will focus on cloud gaming instead of physical releases.

Speaking during a press conference in London this morning, Harrison said the studio was created from scratch as a “21st century studio, not a studio that would make retail products.”

“The shift is from packaged goods to connected products,” he said. “We will continue to support retail with our products for sure. But we are going to keep creating features that are enhanced and improved by the network.

“Moving from being the maker of packaged products to the operator of connected services. Purchasing a product from retail on a disc is a great starting point, and 90% of your content is on that disc.

“What I would encourage you to think is that the disc is the start of a five-year relationship with the gamer, we will try to refine and extend the product over many years. We don’t have to stop doing disc products to be cloud-centric.”

Lift London will be headed by Rare veteran Lee Schuneman, who said the studio’s purpose is to create “new IP in new business models.”

“Europe is our main focus,” he said. “We are here to deliver entertainment as a service, when, where and how you want it. We are going beyond the box, onto tablets, mobile and TVs. And we are made in London, a diverse city that’s full of opportunities.

“The traditional retail games release model, massive up-front-design and development costs, will change and as we do know is change. We will still see the big blockbuster games. But for the larger, networked gamers, we need to think of new business models.”

One of the studios incorporated into Lift London is called DLaLa, which will continue to work as an independent studio. Lift London will also provide support to “young and talented start-ups.”

Microsoft’s shift to focusing more on digital isn’t surprising. Back in November, Harrison said Microsoft Game Studios was becoming a “multi-format” studio, due to more competitors entering the marketplace.

“We are now really a multiplatform studio,” he said during the London Games Conference. “We’re no longer just competing with the traditional console companies, but our competitive landscape includes the likes of Google, the likes of Amazon, it includes obviously the likes of Apple.

“We think it’s good for us, we think it’s good for the industry and we think it also moves us into this network generation more aggressively and with more determination.”

Thanks: MCV, GI International.