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Microsoft is looking to lay off 18,000 staff over the next six months; the largest turnaround in workforce the company has seen in 39 years. It is expected that over $800 million will be paid in benefits and severance packages, and although it is expected that many of the cuts will be taken from the recently acquired Nokia branch, the Xbox division will also be affected with Microsoft looking to close down Xbox Entertainment Studios.
XES, which was formed only as recently as February 2013 will continue to produce the Halo: Nightfall series and a document about Atari, having already premiered football documentary Every Street United which coincided with the World Cup. The shutdown of the studio means however that progress on over a dozen series will be cancelled, and heavily calls into question Microsoft’s strategy going forward as original Xbox content was one of the original selling points for the console (existing TV deals with the likes of NFL will continue), alongside the recently jettisoned Kinect peripheral. The move also flies in the face of a recent trend for streaming services providing original content with Netflix proving to be the most successful, and Amazon & Sony amongst others having projects waiting in the wings.
Recent changes do seems to suggest that after a years indecision and u-turns, Microsoft are once again looking to focus the Xbox One on the gaming audience. You can read the internal e-mail sent by Xbox chief Phil Spencer to staff about XES via Game Informer. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 14TH – 20TH JULY