Microsoft Cancels A Kinect Game, Shuts Down Microsoft Flight Development
Author: William Usher
published: 2012-07-26 14:20:18
Two projects have come to a halt under the Microsoft banner, an unnamed Kinect game going by the pseudonym Project Columbia and the free-to-play flight simulator aptly named Microsoft Flight, which recently launched earlier this year in February. The Vancouver studio which handled development on both projects have also had the team slashed preceding the announcements.
So this whole thing started with anonymous tip-offs to Kotaku (quite naturally) and then GameSpot followed up on it and received word that...
"Microsoft Studios has decided to end development on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia. As a result of this action, some positions within the development teams have been eliminated. Microsoft human resources is working with the affected individuals to find new roles within the company."
That's pretty freaking hilarious...but not in a good way. The problem here is that you have all these publishers talking about always-on, 100% digital futures but none of them seem to be looking at the bigger picture: just because your product is free-to-play doesn't mean people will want to play it. There is a host of small intricacies involved with managing a free-to-play game and propelling it to success and just because a company decides to enter that field doesn't mean they will be successful, heck just check out Zynga's diving stocks to get an idea of how nickel and diming can backfire.
A crappy free-to-play title will still be a crappy game and no one is going to want to dump money regularly into a crappy game. Now I'm not saying that Microsoft Flight was inherently crappy but trying to nickel and dime using a free-to-play model when the base game itself isn't very inviting is the perfect way to turn away gamers. You can't prosper without putting in the proper time and effort.
It's also interesting that Microsoft tried keeping the layoffs and project closures on the downlow. I guess they didn't want anyone knowing that they were ceasing development on Microsoft Flight and canceling a Kinect game? Well, it's all out there now.
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