Microsoft: Ensemble Closure "Right Thing for Our Business"

By Blake Ellison, Sep 10, 2008 7:58am PDT Following yesterday's news that Halo Wars and Age of Empires developer Ensemble Studios would close, publisher Microsoft Game Studios has come forth to defend the decision.

The decision to close the studio was "the right thing for our business at this time," wrote Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer in an internal email obtained by GamesIndustry.

Despite Ensemble's closure marking the third departure from the Microsoft game development stable in a year, Spencer reaffirmed the studio's committment to game development: "This action notwithstanding, I want to emphasize that the overall investment Microsoft is making in videogame development is not diminished, and we will continue to bring in talent to work on titles and franchises where we'll see the most [return on investment]."

In Spencer's email to Microsoft staff, he made a similar committment to the employees who worked at Ensemble. "We hope to integrate much of this creative talent into [Microsoft Games Studios] or the broader [Interactive Entertainment Business] team, where we have relevant openings," he wrote.

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4 Threads | 19 Comments

  • the XBox was never about being a games platform only. The race has been and will be for control of the media delivery which MS probably feels is better about now than a year ago. Leveraging the 360 price drops with services like movie, series sales with Netflix rentals is the other side of the equation.

    This gens game development is expensive with extended development cycles including related marketing. There have been plenty of developers that have committed to the 360 platform in the past two years. Given the economic situations - I'm sure Microsoft expects the used game markets to flourish through the next two years; so their decisions are more sound.

    About the only thing that can prove to be a big set back for Microsoft are the new bandwidth caps Comcast, Time Warner and others are starting to implement. In the shorter term, MS live services are actually bringing their division to small profit.