Microsoft to close Xbox Entertainment Studios, killing its plans for original TV shows

Details of Microsoft's restructuring plans have been steadily emerging today, beginning with the company's announcement earlier today of the largest job cuts in its history. 18,000 jobs are to go, with over two-thirds of the layoffs affecting former Nokia employees that joined the company.

As part of the changes, the company's Xbox Entertainment Studios will close with the loss of 200 jobs, as Re/code reports. Just three months ago, Microsoft was talking up the new programming and content that it was creating under the 'Xbox Originals' brand, but those plans have now been terminated. 

The first series to launch under Xbox Originals was 'Every Street United', which premiered last month. Numerous other programming plans have now been shelved, although the company's Halo live-action shows - Halo Nightfall and the TV show being executive produced by Steven Spielberg - are unlikely to be affected by the plans. 

As Microsoft works to consolidate its efforts around a more clearly defined and focused set of products and services, projects like producing original programming are now being viewed as 'distractions' from the company's core goals. It also seems that there were organizational issues at Xbox Entertainment Studios; Re/code said that its "sources paint a picture of a disorganized studio that struggled to close deals and lacked a fully fleshed-out business model."

The studio will "gradually wind down", with remaining shows currently in production being completed, but no further shows are expected to be commissioned. 

Source: Re/code

Update: Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer has now confirmed to Re/code that the Xbox Entertainment Studios will indeed be closing, and that shows in production will be completed, including Halo Nightfall and Halo: The Television Series.

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