Following the closure of Lionhead Studios and the cancellation of Fable Legends, it now appears that Microsoft is set to close even more first-party developers.
Earlier this week, Microsoft revealed that co-op multiplayer title Fable Legends had been cancelled, with the game having only made it through a few years out of its proposed 10 year life-span. Moreover, Microsoft revealed that the developer behind the game, Lionhead Studios, would also be shuttered while Press Play Studios, a developer based in Denmark that was working on the mysterious ‘Project Knoxville’ would also join the Fable Legends dev on the chopping block. Now that a day has passed, however, it appears more studios are in trouble.
Speculation of additional studio closures comes directly from the Microsoft Studios' website. While the Lionhead Studios and Press Play logos were both removed from the list of studios yesterday, logos representing five other developers were also taken down as well. These include: BigPark, Function Studios, Leap Experience Pioneers, SOTA, and Good Science. Free to play title Project Spark has also been dropped from the site, which will be disappointing for those still tinkering with it, but it’s not a huge shock given that its servers have been offline since March 4 and interest has (mostly) dropped off since its 2014 release.
While Microsoft has yet to officially confirm the closures of these studios (although the website changes were made shortly after the Lionhead and Press Play announcements), some are welcoming the news with open arms. Microsoft was recently accused of ‘abandoning’ console gaming but in shuttering down several studios that were primarily focused on Microsoft HoloLens, a device unlikely to have a gaming focus in its early days, the company may be able to put more focus on Xbox titles.
In addition to HoloLens, though, some of these studios had also worked on games for the Kinect camera. Good Science, for example, worked on Kinect Adventures and Kinect Star Wars, while BigPark worked on Kinect Joy Ride and Kinect Sports: Season Two. As a result, some are taking this as confirmation that Microsoft wants to leave the camera peripheral in the past.
Even though Microsoft has said that the ‘majority’ of Xbox One owners still use Kinect, the publisher admits few of their consumers use the peripheral for gaming. Most apparently use the Kinect for signing into their account or navigating the Xbox One dashboard, but only by voice.
The new Xbox One experience update also dropped Kinect gestures from the dashboard, which some saw as the beginning of the end. Nothing’s confirmed for now though, but expect an update once Microsoft makes a formal announcement.