Key projects canceled and staff laid off at Microsoft Studios Vancouver
What was originally thought to be a complete shutdown at Microsoft's Vancouver-based game studio actually turned out to be a fairly massive layoff; some people report the numbers at around thirty five, though Microsoft hasn't said one way or the other how many folks are out of a job. What they did explain, however, is their reasoning behind the layoffs, which is tied to the cancellation of further development on both Microsoft Flight and the undetailed Kinect work-in-progress Project Columbia.
Their official statement follows below (via Kotaku):
"Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on "Microsoft Flight" and "Project Columbia," but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For "Microsoft Flight," we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/."
This is just the latest development in a distressing trend which, should it continue, could well raise questions about the health of Vancouver's game development industry – just last week, Capcom laid off twenty employees, and towards the beginning of the month, Rockstar closed the doors to their Vancouver studio and shuttled all the staff over to Toronto.
A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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