Xbox boss on first-party closures: “I’m not sure I’m so loved right now”

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Phil spencer

Phil Spencer has done a lot to change the image of the Xbox brand. He has been presented as a gamer first, business man second, and it’s a move that has won a lot of good will for Xbox, especially after its rocky launch. He is generally perceived as a good guy, and I’ve personally liked what I’ve seen from him since he took over. However, closing Lionhead might change that view for some people.

Shutting the doors of Lionhead was marked with the awesome headline-worthy quote that Microsoft are the “destroyer of first party studios”. Spencer, however, is adamant that Xbox isn’t going anywhere. Over on twitter, he explained that he’s proud of the first party studios and the “plan is continue to build new IP and expand our franchises”, going on to say about closing Lionhead and Press Play:

While he can’t go into the detail of why Lionhead has been closed, I think it’s probably a pretty sound business decision. The studio hasn’t gotten much traction for the latest Fable, meaning that all the time and money being poured into the title would probably go to waste. After whatever analysis they did, Xbox must have decided it was better to cut their losses. Still, it’s always sad to hear about a studio closing its doors, and Spencer knows that this move doesn’t win hearts and minds.

I’m curious to see how Xbox boosts its support for first-party titles. Exclusives help sell consoles, so of course Spencer is pledging his support for Xbox studios. Perhaps we will hear more at E3 – I’m quite intrigued by ReCore and depending on the success of Quantum Break we could see greater emphasis on similar titles. At least Spencer takes responsibility for the fact that Xbox has had to make an unpopular decision; it’s tweets like these that keep him as a likable character to be running Xbox.

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Last Updated: March 9, 2016

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Pieter Kruger

    Still, doesn’t make sense to cancel a game so late into development! According to the closed beta players it was basically done? It was earmarked to be a free to play anyway, so why not just release as is, as early accesss or crowd fund it dammit?! Will just sign the inevitable incoming petition and see what happens…….

    • Hammersteyn

      Canceling a game is one thing, but closing a studio? He just went full Konami

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        And you never go full KONAMI!!!!!

      • Pieter Kruger

        Saw a funny tweet where Konami congratulated MS for closing Lionhead LOL!

        • Hammersteyn

          XD

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    It’s a corporation, this stuff happens in corporations, for they most part they’re faceless, and numbers don’t have faces at all, no matter how nice the individuals involved may be numbers usually win.

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      Remember kids – The smiles are a lie!!!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Smiles take the cake!

    • You’re faceless!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

  • Hammersteyn

    Running over someones dog by accident will make you not so loved. Putting people out of jobs… I can think of stronger words

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      “a dickish move”? Although if I was a major shareholder at Microsoft, I wouldn’t particularly care about the plight of the little man, but rather whether or not I see positive growth in my portfolio and whether or not I can finally buy Haiti and the Haitians…

      (A slavery joke Jim? Really dude…. :o)

      • Hammersteyn

        Do you not feel so loved right now?

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          Sniff… I still don’t have the division and you guys are already Level 13 and above…

          • Hammersteyn

            I don’t either, only got my ADSL working last night XD

          • I thought you hated DRM? *runs

          • Hammersteyn

            LOVE Drm. Bestest ever

          • R1ker

            Sssshhhh Ryanza might be reeding this

    • Pieter Kruger

      Sad indeed and it’s not just Lionhead getting axed it would seem! Luckily I do think most employees should get placed with MS’s other studios though! It’s just the way it is unfortunately and it’s not just MS….

      • Hammersteyn

        No it’s not just MS, they’re just the latest to do this.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    lol, Phil Spencer has become an advanced master of PR talk. It’s gotten to the point where even Major Ballsack may need to take notes from Sempai Spencer. My personal theory is that neither one of them are actually real humans but rather androids created in a lab at Redmond.

    That would explain why they’re so confused when their consumers get all hot and bothered about always-online DRM, the boner losing first-party exclusives, “xboner as a service”, the cloud nonsense…. or shutting down “beloved” developers like Lionshead.

    • Hammersteyn

      They’re brewing something sinister. Just feels like they’re moving all their pieces into place.

      • Israel Ruelas

        Like????
        lol you anti Microsoft freaks are hilarious!!
        But if it was sony, y’all would bending over to take up the rear with no Vaseline and begging for more.
        SMH….
        A free to play game got cancelled… It happens.
        This is coming from someone who fell in love with Fable Legends

  • Gamer passion is over-privileged more like.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      #dealwithit

  • Ryanza

    Xbox One is still suffering from Don the jacket

    It’s because Microsoft wanted DRM so bad that it screwed itself when it comes to console sales and now studios have to be cut in order to maintain profit margins.
    #fuckmicrosoft #fuckdrm

    Don’t Support DRM.

    • Pieter Kruger

      So why did Sony close studios…….?

      • Ryanza

        everything must be a comparison to Sony with you. I am not the Sony fanboi you are looking for.

        • Pieter Kruger

          Just putting it into perspective for you, it’s not just MS…….chances are everything you own, products you support, that company had to let people go and had to make hard choices in the past or will have to in the future….

          • Ryanza

            No, no, no. Sony and Nintendo is different when it comes to Microsoft.

            Sony’s expensive good products are not selling compared to Samsungs cheaply made products which are just selling.
            Sony has been at shit for years now. Sony is trying to scale down and the PS4 is making them money. Sony closing studios is about scaling down. Trying to save the whole damn thing.

            Microsoft has so much fucking money that they don’t need to close anything. All microsoft had to do was just redirect Lion Head away from Fable and Kinect. But instead they closing it down.

            Microsoft has so much money they don’t need to be closing anything. In fact Microsoft should be opening more studios and give more people jobs.

          • Pieter Kruger

            Don’t be so mad at MS, just keep sending your CV………..ROFL! So companies making money are the devil? I don’t think you realize under how much pressure companies are from investors and shareholders to become and stay profitable? Don’t hate the player, hate the game….

          • Ryanza

            Don’t say stuff like I don’t realize. I get it.

            But if they taking in as much money as Microsoft is taking in from the people, they should, above profits, shareholders, investors, give back to the people through jobs and whatnot.

            If they don’t then people should stop supporting them.

          • Pieter Kruger

            “We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming. We are committed to working closely with those affected by today’s news to find them new opportunities at Xbox, or partnering with the broader development community to help place them in jobs elsewhere in the games industry should they desire.”. Does this make you hate them a little less……? Speaking of giving back, do you realise that MS annually spends millions and millions of $ towards social development, schools etc. etc.? Does THIS make you hate them a little less…..?

          • Ryanza

            They better and let’s not forget that Bill Gates want to reduce the world’s population.

          • Pieter Kruger

            Bill Gates has got nothing to do with MS anymore but with all the effort he’s putting into eradicating malaria I think he’s more into increasing the world’s population……But does this make you hate them a little less was my question?????

          • Ryanza

            No fuck Microsoft and their DRM mission.

          • Pieter Kruger

            See? My point is you will always just come up with another reason to hate MS, just keep sending that CV and keep the faith….????????????

          • Ryanza

            Microsoft started to focus heavily on DRM. Xbox One should not be supported and Win 10 should not be supported.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Don’t support Developer-Reducing Microsoft!

          • miaau

            Why should Microsoft be doing that, opening more studios and giving people jobs? If it makes business sense, but people need sustainable jobs in the medium to long term.

            Like teaching a man to fish, rather than throwing the fish at him.

          • Ryanza

            It’s always business sense for the people to be fucked over for profits.

            microsoft takes in so much money from the people and there should be a responsibility to give back to the people in terms of jobs and such.
            Microsoft closing down two studios, firing people, to maintain profit margins after Microsoft takes in so much money from the people. It’s just wrong.

            But business sense is to fuck over the people. the same people you need to make the profits.

  • HairyEwok

    Remember when Lionhead Studios launched the website teasing to a new game (When it was actually damned Fable: Legends), people were going crazy saying they’ll finally get to play another Black & White game. Lionhead Studios still had a lot of IP potential.

  • miaau

    Welcome back, Zoe.

    I hope work from home Mommy is all its cracked up to be.

    And yeah, business is business

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