As WinBuzzer previously reported, Microsoft pulled the plug on Lionhead Studios (developer of the acclaimed Fable series) and Danish studio Press Play on Monday morning. Now, it seems, Redmond has continued the bloodletting with the following studios removed from its roster without explanation:
- BigPark, a Canadian developer acquired by Microsoft in 2009 and the creator of Kinect Joy Ride.
- [Fun]tion Studios
- Good Science
- Leap Experience Pioneers (LXP)
- SOTA, or State of the Art, with no known projects
All but BigPark were studios established by Microsoft in late 2014 and had a handful of Kinect projects under their belt. Speculation is that the move may be tied to Microsoft's Hololens, Redmond's virtual reality headset that has experienced numerous delays and still doesn't look like it will be released anytime soon despite being theoretically consumer-ready. That project has been plagued with a high price tag (a reported $3,000, or five times higher than the Oculus Rift headset) and a lack of things to do with it.
Factor in Microsoft's 2014 decision to decouple the Xbox One and Kinect, offering Xbox bundles without the Kinect after customer backlash to its always-connected, always-on mandate, and this appears to signal a move away from Kinect gaming as Microsoft continues to play catch-up with Sony's PlayStation 4 system.
Also removed from Microsoft's studio list is Project Spark, a world-building game for Windows and Xbox One. Late last year, Microsoft began transitioning the game from a microtransactions model to a “free incubation engine,” with all further DLCs canceled. Project Spark's servers have been offline since Friday with no explanation given.
— Project Spark (@proj_spark) March 5, 2016
The link given in the Project Spark tweet leads to simply an empty forum post with:
** Project Spark Services Are Currently Offline. Team Is Investigating. **