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Phil Spencer: Ensemble closure is "right thing for our business"

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Game Studios, has told staff that the closure of Ensemble Studios - the team behind the Age of Empires titles and the forthcoming Halo Wars - was a difficult decision, but "the right thing for our business at this time".

In an email to remaining employees of MGS, leaked to GamesIndustry.biz, Spencer explains that the company is "accountable for making tradeoffs and the right level of investments that will drive profit and future growth," and that he hopes to be able to offer Ensemble employees not picked up by the new company being formed employment elsewhere within "MGS or the broader IEB (Interactive Entertainment Business) team."

He goes on to stress that, despite last year's closure of FASA and the split with Bungie, the Ensemble move is not indicative of a wider move away from videogames investment.

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Cajun Chicken3418d ago (Edited 3418d ago )

MS have to stop doing this. Money or no money, closing down first party and losing world-renowned acquired developers has to stop.
In the last gen and the prev gen MS have lost;

Digital Anvil - Freelancer and Brute Force.
Oddworld Inhabitants - Oddworld, duh. Deflected to EA. Didn't sell enough because of lack of marketing and OI vanished from the development scene after years of success.
FASA - Crimson Skies and Shadowrun. Core members now making the amazing spiritually connected (To CS) Dark Void for Capcom.
Bungie - Still contractually obliged to make games for MS but also multiplatform games which certainly aren't going to be WORSE than exclusives.
Bizzare - Gone to Activision to make multiplatform games. Taken GW and Kudos game mechanic with them.

Core members of Ensemble will no doubt form a new team for multiplatform after this.

Why can't MS learn from mistakes? Why can't they see something GOOD when they own it?!?

They own Lionhead and Rare. That's about it now. How long until they kick the bucket or move on?
Notice Epic has hopped to EA too. That's going to create some impact.

Jeez, Nintendo or Sony haven't shut down a first party for ages. In fact, I don't think SCE ever has. Nintendo's only lost Rare I think.

Play the long game already. Acquired IPs aren't everything, MS. Halos, Gears and Fables won't keep you going forever.

heyheyhey3418d ago

MS have three first-part studios left developing for the Xbox...

one of those definitely won't have a game out next year (Lionhead)

that's pathetic...

InfiniteUnfloppery3418d ago

Oh well,more Exclusives for Us.

BlackRaven853418d ago

They have four; One is being formed by some of these guys

AngryXbot3417d ago

but I also wouldnt be surprised if MS closes 2 more of these studios.

The fact is that these studios are not profitable, puny and pale in comparison to Sonys and Nintendo's studios.

Its the right thing to do close down non profitable pieces of trash.

Age of Empires was a good series until Age of Mythologies and Age of Empires 3 (best of the best RTS is Age of Empires 2). After empires 2, the series just went downhill.

I wouldnt be surprised if MS steps out of the console business all together. They have trash products and trash consoles.
The only thing they are good at, is waste money on 3rd party games for MULTI platform activity. Lets face it. With all that money thrown around, they could only manage to get some titles to be non exclusive for the PS3. Which is pathetic.

They relied on trashtalk and bribing when the PS3 launched but the money has run out. The tables are starting to turn because the PS3 is delivering and 360 is not. Its right thing for this industry if these sorelosers leave.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 3417d ago
Whoooop3418d ago (Edited 3418d ago )

It may give great opportunities to some, but it's not good for any company to shut down unless they are going bankrupt.

Heldrasil3418d ago (Edited 3418d ago )

I highly doubt bankruptcy is in their future. Almost every American company is suffering from layoffs (we have hit the biggest rate of joblessness since 2002), this is just a subsidiary who is caught in the same fate. This is simply nothing more than "layoffs".

Whoooop3418d ago

We're talking about dismantling a whole company...

Some will get jobs at MS and some will go about their business, but closing down a company is never good for the employees. Period.

ReBurn3417d ago

Unfortunately business is rarely about the employees. Businesses are consumed and dismantled all the time, and often when they are profitable. Most development houses, like Ensemble, are normally seen as cost centers for companies and not as profitable in and of themselves.

It sucks that people could be out of a job. This is a hard time for a lot of people.

rawd3418d ago

Flop Flop Floppity Flop Flop Flop Floppity Flop Flop Flop Floppity Flop Flop Flop Floppity Flop

InfiniteUnfloppery3418d ago

I couldn't have said it better myself,Bubbles Rewarded

InfiniteUnfloppery3418d ago

hahahaha,I wonder how the soon to be Unemployed Ensemble Employees reacted to that part of the Email

AngryXbot3417d ago (Edited 3417d ago )

The reaction is simple:

go apply for a job at another studio preferably a Sony studio.

Voozi3418d ago (Edited 3418d ago )

So wait these guys are the ones making Halo Wars? So if they're closing down then what's going to happen with this game? Are they going to finish developing it first or passing the code onto another studio?

But damn...Age of Empires, I loved that game back in the PC days, those were classics right there

Dlacy13g3418d ago

They explain in the article that the game will continue to be supported by the new company formed. My question, is what is the new company being formed and what is their focus?

Voozi3418d ago

Oh I'm on N4G with my Blackberry Curve as I'm sitting here in my bathroom XD

Once I umm, finish up here will go here and read it lol

Cajun Chicken3418d ago (Edited 3418d ago )

Obviously its pretty much made. Its sort of like the case of Lucasarts and The Forced Unleashed. People did the work and now the company is being dissolved into other groups.

I don't think this is healthy, if a game developer is good there's no reason to reorganise them. Surely Ensemble were making enough income and profit for Microsoft, especially with upcoming Halo Wars.

We lost developers like Westwood Studios, Bullfrog, Gremlin, Digital Anvil and Shiny due to reshuffles like this.

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