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UPDATED: Microsoft Studios hit by lay-offs as former staffers tweet confirmation

Thursday, 3 April 2014 11:47 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft Studios appears to have let go of a number of staffers, as confirmed by tweets from some of the affected. It’s unclear why these employees have been let go, or how many people have been made redundant, but something seems to be going on.

UPDATE: contacting VG247, a Microsoft representative said of the lay-offs, “At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences. As part of our commitment to this goal, we are always evaluating our development priorities, and there are times when decisions need to be made to realign plans and refocus our efforts.

“Microsoft Studios continues to grow as an overall organization as we focus and invest in key priority areas that will drive future profitable growth.”

ORIGINAL STORY: It follows the promotion of Phil Spcener as the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division.

Neowin reports that several Microsoft Studios employees received word on April 2, that they would no longer be working for the company.

Artist Patrick Loughman was one of them:

Technical producer at Microsoft Studios, Elbert Perez was also let go, but confirmed he is now working on a Kickstarter project:

We’ve contacted Microsoft for details. Stay tuned.

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19 Comments

  1. Dragon

    So now Microsoft is Do0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o00oo0o0o0o0o0med too.
    All abroad the dooooom train.

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Erthazus

    I think Phil Spencer is super serious about gaming for it’s platform.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. tezzer1985

    People who clam doom cause of layoffs are really misinformed, but it’s not their fault as Gaming sites don’t educate their readers on the nature of why layoff happen within gaming, instead they post it as flame bait, just like they do when they post fan boyish story’s, it’s just to fuel a reaction from their readers.

    Just cause Sony & MS lay people off, doesn’t mean they are not making great games & services. These layoffs happen because they are losing money in areas that they feel, will not bring a return on investment, so they shift the resources to areas that they feel will deliver on the investment. I feel sorry for the people who have lost jobs, but let’s face it having MS on your CV doesn’t hinder your chances of finding work.

    Unlike other sectors that suffer layoffs, and people struggle to find work.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. Gheritt White

    @Erthazus I agree, but will it be enough to compensate for the XB1′s inferior hardware components? The differences between the XB1 and PS4 will only increase as time goes by and I’m not convinced that they won’t be able to prevent Sony from gaining a significant lead.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Joe Musashi

    Maybe the recent Sony-related refugees will nestle at Microsoft. I’m sure Phil Harrison will welcome them with open arms. :)

    Change is healthy. I’d rather see a company adapt than not.

    Good luck to all seeking new roles.

    JM

    #5 1 year ago
  6. KAP

    No one is immune to lay offs, Sony, Microsoft etc etc

    @5

    Former Sony staff and former Microsoft staff, I don’t think they will be fussed what camp they get a job in, just as long they have one.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. jmg24bad

    Oh yes :) . This gone be good!

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Luciferous

    I just for once would like the press release to be straight forward and honest.

    ‘We laid-off some guys because we didn’t need them any more… or they were terrible at their jobs.’

    #8 1 year ago
  9. Francis O

    @tezzer1985

    Don’t try to damage control layoffs.

    It’s never good when a company lays off staff. It can damage moral of the team, and even make games the people let go on worse! Look at what happened with Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2, the team when through to many switches and lay offs…..couple that with a crazy game director, and it was a disaster. We all know MS doesn’t make any money off the Xbox Brand….they can only hide the billions of dollars for so long in Android patents.

    MS as a company is fine…but the Xbox Division is hurting…..otherwise they wouldn’t let go of the staff members making less than 60K a year….MS is a multibillion dollar conglomerate.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. TheWulf

    It’s crap that all those people lost a stable pay cheque, but in the process they might become small development houses of their own, who’ll create genuinely interesting things. There are times when I really hate the idea of firing someone just because they’re no longer needed, but when it comes to the faceless corporations, it might turn around into a good thing. I just think of all of that bundled up creative energy, now set free.

    With, say, Double Fine though the lay-offs would only happen if Tim started running out of money. Where’d I get that information? Tim himself. He hates letting people go, it really bothers him, and he really loves being surrounded by an indie dev commune of boundless creativity. I think he’s invested more in sustaining that than he is in making money. There’s so much creativity floating around Double Fine that I’d be sad to see anyone leave that environment.

    Still, it does suck that they’re losing a reliable pay cheque, since I’m sure many of these people will have obligations and families to support. Hopefully they’ll find their way, and that that way will be right for them.

    Good luck, ladies and gents, be well, and hopefully make the things you want to make.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. Kreion

    @Francis O

    How incorrect can you be? the Xbox division of MS does turn a profit, if it consistently failed to do so it would have been scrapped long ago. A company the size of MS in much more likely to reshuffle its staff than a smaller company, so right now we don’t know the state of the Xbox division. Especially since all this is happening after they got a new head, who was always likely to fire some staff and hire others, depending on where he wants the Xbox division to aim towards.

    Also, this isn’t really comparable to Castlevania 2′s situation…this is the driving force behind an entire console, not behind any particular game.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. ddtd

    @Francis O By your logic, then I guess Playstation isn’t doing well because of their layoffs?

    #12 1 year ago
  13. salarta

    … What the hell is wrong with people here? Layoffs are not something to cover up and try to distract people from with talk about how “it’s really a positive sign because they’re willing to change” or “companies with layoffs still make great games.” Who gives a fuck about whether or not the company can still make good games in this situation? We’re talking about human beings not being able to continue financially supporting themselves until they find work elsewhere or get re-hired by Microsoft.

    Now yes, there are a lot of very important details we don’t know about these layoffs. For example, two of the people laid off that got quoted in this article appear to see their layoffs as a chance to work on other projects, and maybe that’s true for everyone that got laid off. Alternately, maybe some people got laid off because they weren’t doing their jobs, and this is nicer than firing them. There are a lot of possible reasons why the layoffs were understandable, but at no point is “hey, this company just made a bunch of people have to hope they find work elsewhere so they can continue living” a time to sing the praises of Microsoft’s supposed greatness.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Joe Musashi

    @13 That’s cute. Have you been on this planet long?

    JM

    #14 1 year ago
  15. Gheritt White

    @Joe Musashi He’s never worked in software… unlike the people who just got laid off.

    What’s the old saying? If you’ve not been made redundant or lost a girl/boyfriend to the job, you’ve never worked in videogames ;)

    #15 1 year ago
  16. dtyk

    @Kreion I’m not trying to be a dick here, but the division as a whole haven’t made a single dollar “yet”. Getting into a new hardware business is very expensive, and Xbox is still very young compared to playstation or the nintendo line of products.

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/11/investors-call-for-microsoft-to-abandon-xbox-4299255/

    #16 1 year ago
  17. antraxsuicide

    @dtyk You’re correct in a way, but the breakdown is anything but bleak. (I’ll find links for my points if you ask, but I’ll have to dig. I’ve used them before, but it’s buried in some Word Doc XD)

    The original Xbox set MS back by about $10B. That initial cost is, as of last summer, down to $2.8B. What that translates to is the 360 was cutting their investment by over a billion dollars a year. And that’s with a billion lost to RROD. If the X1 is half as successful as the 360 (and it’s selling at a profit, and at twice the rate), then MS will be done with their original investment in a few years at most.

    @Francis O
    MS consoles have the highest attach rate of any system, they’ve charged for online for a decade, they get the most 3rd party royalties (because 3rd parties sell better on Xbox), they sell the most 1st party software (Mario beats them, but that’s about it). If you really think MS isn’t making money on the Xbox, then you must therefore think that this entire industry is failing.

    #17 1 year ago
  18. dtyk

    @antraxsuicide No I actually think the Xbox division is going to turn in strong profits in about 5 years. If you look at the graph in the link I attached, the division is now in the black if you look on a year to year basis. However, it’s a simple fact that the division is only close to breaking even since its conception as of 2014.

    Anyone saying that the division overall is a profitable business right now is delusional. It will be at least another 5 years before they are out of the red, given that they don’t pull another RROD.

    #18 1 year ago
  19. Dragon

    @dtyk,
    Important thing is that the “entertainment division” of MS doesn’t exist anymore. Its combined with devices division, housing failures like surface and soon will include erstwhile nokia too.
    Its difficult to gauge the state of Xbox division as of now.

    @antraxsuicide,
    You would do well to avoid Francis, he runs a nintendo troll site.

    #19 1 year ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The Shadow of the Beast reboot, which was announced in 2013, has show its face once more with early screenshots. Screenshots of the Amiga classic remake show off the Karamoon’s desert and the main character, Aarbron. According Matt Birch, CEO and founder of Heavy Spectrum, the team is currently hard at work on the “core […]

  • Halo: Spartan Strike arrives on Windows 8, iOS and Steam today

    Halo: Spartan Strike is now available on Windows 8, Steam, iOS devices and Windows 8 phones. The mobile top-down shooter will run you $5.99. Halo: Spartan Strike tells a new story in the Halo universe set during the events of Halo 2 on New Mombasa in 2552. Those playing on Windows 8 devices can compete […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video shows highlights from the Episdoe Duscae demo

    Square Enix has released a Final Fantasy 15 video which shows highlights from the Episode Duscae demo included with launch editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. FFT0 has shipped over one million copies worldwide, and a player feedback survey is available for the Duscae demo until May 19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available on PlayStation […]

  • Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since release – SuperData

    PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since it was released on March 24, according to SuperData’s latest report. The figure produced by SuperData is worldwide and comes on the heels of the one million units sold announcement earlier this week. “After the release of the beautiful but terribly short game The […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Mega May returns, Super Smash Bros. update, Mii Fighter costumes

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a Super Smash Bros. update and the StreetPass Mii Plaza games Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler. The update is rather detailed, and a bit larger than normal, and you may wish to pay special attention to the activities listed. Here’s the full update: StreetPass […]

  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]