Microsoft’s Studio Closures: A Shock to the Gaming Industry

Microsoft’s Studio Closures: A Shock to the Gaming Industry

8. May 2024 by Never

In a surprising move, Microsoft has announced the closure of several iconic game development studios, sending shockwaves through the gaming community. Matt Booty, the head of Xbox Game Studios, delivered this news to employees, citing a “reprioritization of titles and resources.”

The affected studios include Arkane Austin, known for creating Redfall, Tango Gameworks, responsible for Hi-Fi Rush, and Alpha Dog Games, among others. IGN reports that part of the affected personnel will be relocated, while some studios will shut down permanently.

Impact on Iconic Franchises

Almost four years ago (time flies, doesn’t it?), Microsoft acquired ZeniMax Media for a staggering $7.5 billion, becoming the parent company of legendary studios like Bethesda, Arkane, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios. These studios are behind revered franchises such as ‘DOOM,’ ‘Wolfenstein,’ ‘Dishonored,’ and upcoming titles like ‘Starfield’ and ‘Hi-Fi Rush.’

The closure of three of these studios, including Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, raises uncertainties about potential additional layoffs within Bethesda.

Specific Studio Closures and Game Status

Redfall, under Arkane Austin, will no longer receive updates, though servers will remain active. Hi-Fi Rush will continue to be accessible on current platforms, and Alpha Dog Games will shut down with in-game purchases disabled.

Acknowledging Disruption

Booty acknowledges that these decisions will have a “disruptive” impact overall. He emphasizes that these changes do not reflect on the creativity or talent of the affected teams but are driven by the need to allocate resources more strategically.

Industry-Wide Impact

This latest round of closures follows Microsoft’s earlier layoffs affecting 1,900 employees across Xbox Game Studios and in the wake of the Activision Blizzard acquisition. While the exact number of employees affected by today’s closures hasn’t been disclosed, these actions add to a trend of layoffs and closures that have marked the video game industry in the past 18 months.

Microsoft’s Xbox Is Planning More Cuts After Studio Closings
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Looking Ahead to 2024

Despite these setbacks, Microsoft is still gearing up for highly anticipated releases in 2024, including titles like Starfield Shattered Space, Fallout 76 Skyline Valley, Indiana Jones and The Great Circle, and Golden Road from The Elder Scrolls Online.

The company aims to align its plans and resources to navigate this dynamic and complex industry, positioning its remaining studios and teams to innovate, explore new concepts, and expand successful franchises.