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Standard User Chrysalis
(legend) Thu 31-Mar-16 06:22:44
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xbox RIP?

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I mentioned in other threads I believed microsoft to be shifting to PC as their focus, read some more discussions on neogaf and other staff regarding lionhead been closed down, and my view is now even stronger, I think the xbox division is been slowly closed down, they obviously wont announce it until its done, because they have consoles to shift in retailers.

This will bring nintendo a way back in leaving the NX and sony as the two main consoles. With microsoft's new platform been windows store on windows 10.

Some people think it wont be wound down but instead moved to a steam machines model so upgradeable consoles, but I cannot see that working, and with them seemingly closing down all their gaming assets there is only way this is heading.

Is this crazy talk or do you guys think this theory has merits?

This also might explain why sony feel they can get away with the ps 4.5, if they the only viable player on the market, consumers will suck it up.

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Standard User Chrysalis
(legend) Thu 31-Mar-16 06:35:12
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Re: xbox RIP?

[re: Chrysalis] [link to this post]
The below is pretty damming, microsoft have turned into a very short termist company who have become very brutal in their shutdown of projects. They have fallen so far, they published great games in the early 360 era, and have now changed into this.

Microsoft Studios is now publishing only the biggest hits
Let's just recap Microsoft's generation in review:
- Start Lift London
- Downsize the XBLA/Microsoft Studios team because MS doesn't want to be in the business of publishing so many indie games
- Close Microsoft Victoria
- Cancel Black Tusk's original game and make them the Gears studio
- Close Xbox Entertainment Studios
- Buy Mojang
- Merge Lift London with other UK-based small teams
- Promote Kudo to oversee Lift London and other UK based teams
- Kudo transfered out of Microsoft Games
- Spin off Twisted Pixel Games
- Close Press Play
- Close Lionhead

In light of the W10/Xbox One news recently, I would interpret this as the following: Microsoft does not see themselves as a hardware platform owner anymore. As a result, their interest in developing games is no longer about establishing a diverse portfolio (even at a loss), but instead about just publishing games only if they make reliable money with no risk. Hence why they're willing to sign with outside partners, and hence why they're still making Halo, Forza, Minecraft, and Gears. If you were going to transition away from the hardware model but still wanted to publish the odd game and didn't want to shut down the division at all, this is exactly what you'd do. Besides these franchises, almost all of Microsoft's first-party partners are now working on Hololens, and it's not clear that Hololens is going to be a consumer focused gaming product during the Xbox One's lifespan. The exceptions: the Project Spark team (W10/XO--whose game got shut down) and Decisive Games (presumably working on AoE, for W10/XO), and Rare.

As it relates to Press Play, Microsoft's purchase never really made any sense to begin with, just as it didn't with Twisted Pixel, but my thoughts at the time were that it was driven by wanting to have a robust portfolio of indie exclusives as other indie titles went increasingly multiplatform. Neither company had mega hits, although both had some success. In addition, neither company was all that large, so shutting them down isn't just a vote of non-confidence, it's a vote that they aren't even interested in owning those types of companies.

Microsoft did a pretty [censored] job of making use of Lionhead
Finally, separate from the musing about Microsoft Studios, I think Lionhead Studios has been treated extremely poorly by Microsoft. Microsoft did not secure Black & White from EA or The Movies from Activision when they bought Lionhead. The lack of care about the studio's non-Fable history was palpable. Also let it be noted that every non-Fable game they worked on under Microsoft got cancelled. Which would be OK if they cared about Fable, but here's what they did with Fable:
- Fable 1 gets a late PC port
- Fable 2 never gets a PC port
- Fable 3 gets a GFWL PC port that gets discontinued years ago when they run out of keys, MS never bothers to remove GFWL
- Fable Heroes never gets a PC port
- Fable The Journey never gets a PC port
- Fable Anniversary gets a late PC port with a rocky launch
- Fable Legends cancelled during beta

Microsoft sucks at F2P
Let's talk about free to play, though. Free to play is a pretty exciting business model for publishers and fans alike, if executed properly. MS has really sent some big signals about F2P and their interest in it. How have they done?

- In Summer 2011, Microsoft publishes Age of Empires Online for PC (GFWL). The game was developed by Robot Entertainment, also known as the company that formed when Microsoft closed Ensemble Studios (the previous developers of Age of Empires). Microsoft had Ensemble develop a console exclusive RTS which ended up being a huge hit but then closed them because I guess they didn't want a PC studio? Who knows? The game started as basically a free demo that required you to pay to buy into most of the content. It also started as a busywork grind. A year later, Microsoft, having basically bungled the game's first year, released the game on Steam (still required GFWL) and lowered the prices. This also did not work. Then a few months later they made the game actually F2P--you could unlock all the content by grinding, or pay to accelerate. A little under 2 years after release, they discontinued development on the game. 8 months later they shut down the servers. As the game is online only, it can no longer be played.
- In 2011, Microsoft publishes Crimson Alliance for XBLA as free to play. Except it turns out they don't understand free to play and the game costs money to play. When they are asked about this, they explain that the demo is free to play (as it was for every other XBLA game released on Xbox 360). ??? Great game, no followup, developer is now a support studio for Halo, no chance of game being ported to a modern platform.
- In 2012, Microsoft launches Windows 8. A variety of the launch games for the platform are "Free to Play", including a great little point and click / hidden object hybrid called Adera. The free to play model for Adera is that you can play the first quarter for free and then pay for the rest. So, again, a demo. Other games are actually free to play, but they're versions of games that used to be entirely free. One game is an endless runner called Gunstringer Dead Man Running. Gunstringer is F2P with currency in a similar model to, say, Jetpack Joyride. This game is shut down in 2014.
- In 2012, Microsoft launches Microsoft Flight, a free to play revival of Flight Simulator. Again, the free content is basically a demo, so it's clear they don't understand Free to Play. The game is locked behind GFWL and is PC exclusive. Five months later, they ceased development on the game, leaving it with nowhere near enough content. In 2013, they removed the ability to purchase any of the content or download the game. In 2014, they shut the servers. Note that Microsoft previously killed the team that made Flight Simulator and then created a new team for this project.
- In October 2012, Microsoft launches the first traditionally F2P game on XBLA: Happy Wars, a Japanese-developed tug of war team based hack and slash multiplayer game. This game went pretty well, although they realized that the business model with F2P is attracting as many people as possible so that you can monetize whales, which was at odds with the whole "you need to pay $50 a year to be able to download this game". It's fine, because the developer went ahead and ported the game to Steam without Microsoft. On Steam it has a few million players.
- In May 2013, Microsoft releases Crash Course 2, a sequel to the free Doritos advertorial game Crash Course. It is pretty well received and very popular, millions on the leaderboards near release. Around the same time they release Crash Course Go, a version of the game for Windows 8. Both games are cancelled less than a year after release and the servers shut down effective immediately.
- In July 2013, Microsoft announces Lift London is working on 4 F2P games. None ever release or are announced.
- In September 2013, Microsoft publishes Ascend: New Gods, by Signal Studios, the popular developers of the Toy Soldiers franchise. This is an F2P dungeon crawl 3rd person ARPG, kinda like Kingdoms of Amalur or Elder Scrolls or a more mechanically intense Fable. The game is actually super popular, lots of people play it. Less than a year after release, Microsoft cancels the game, removes it from sale, and gives everyone 3 day's notice about a server shutdown. Also they do not tell the developer, Signal Studios, who is completely blindsided. Signal ports the game to Steam, where it did OK for a while. It's still available. Signal hasn't worked with Microsoft since.
- A little bit before shutting down Ascend: New Gods, Microsoft shows the first footage of Fable Legends. At the time, the game is not specified as F2P, but it's later clarified to be F2P and Xbox One/Windows 10 cross-play. Microsoft teases 5-10 years of support--that this is the Fable series as we know it going forward. Fable Legends is cancelled during open beta.
- In summer 2014, Microsoft betas Project Spark, a game creation game that's F2P with Microtransactions. The game discontinues development and goes free a year after release, the F2P model having not worked at all.
- In June 2015, Microsoft confirms that they are publishing Gigantic, an Xbox One/Windows 10 cross-play F2P MOBA by indie developer Motiga. The game is in closed beta and moving to open beta this summer. Well, maybe, because a month ago the developer announced significant layoffs.

These are not all of Microsoft's F2P failures--I could also talk about the semi-F2P business model of Game Room, which failed, Microsoft's bad attempts to make their old free Windows parlour games (Minesweeper, Mahjong, Solitaire) into money-making opportunities but instead alienating their audience, Age of Empires: Castle Siege (a bad Clash of Clans clone).

I could also talk about the failure of their cloud gaming initiative by exploring how just about every Microsoft server-based game has been shut down. I could also talk about how Galactic Reign, released by Microsoft as a bold experiment in cloud-based rendering of cutscenes -- pay attention if you like Quantum Break -- shut down 6 months after release, leaving players unable to play the game. I could also talk about how all of Microsoft's major initiatives with the Xbox One: Smartglass, Cloud-based Rendering or Computing Features, and Dedicated Servers are all defunct.

Microsoft is the absolute master of failing at things even when it'd be easier to succeed. The good news is, pretty soon they'll have no more internal studios to shut down besides the ones reliably pumping out their biggest franchises every two years. As someone who bought a lot of Microsoft Game Studios titles and really loved so much of what they accomplished on 360, it sucks that shifting corporate priorities and an unwillingness to fully commit to gaming sabotaged so much of what they could have accomplished.

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Standard User time2die
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 31-Mar-16 09:22:57
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Re: xbox RIP?

[re: Chrysalis] [link to this post]
They are really trying to put what was wrong with Xbox One right and i don't believe that they are doing what you suggest.

Problem is they made a huge mistake at launch and they have never really recovered and handed the lead back to Sony and Sony have now become a tad idle.

I would love it if Nintendo came out with a new mind blowing spec console,i would love it even more if Sega came back into the Fray .

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Standard User Lt_Swan
(knowledge is power) Thu 31-Mar-16 10:15:30
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Re: xbox RIP?

[re: Chrysalis] [link to this post]
Good news for us PC gamers smile

Life..... It's just a game
Standard User time2die
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 31-Mar-16 10:52:35
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Re: xbox RIP?

[re: Lt_Swan] [link to this post]
who spends 90% of his time playing Playstation 4 games....wink
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