Here's a bit of bad news for you creative types in the audience: It looks like Microsoft is pulling the plug on its word- and game-building title, Project Spark.
If you've never played Project Spark, you're going to have a real hard time changing that fact. While the game is still running online currently, there's no longer a way for you to actually buy it. As of this weekend, Project Spark is no longer for sale.
The worse news, however, is that even those of you who have the game won't be able to play it to the fullest for much longer. Come August 12, Microsoft will be closing the servers down, making it impossible to share your own gaming experiences with other players.
The news went live on Friday, with the developers at Team Dakota laying out the details on the game's blog. Unfortunately, it sounds like the short-lived venture into creativity simply didn't gain enough traction with fans.
For those of you unfamiliar with Project Spark, it was a lot like Microsoft's own version of LittleBigPlanet. There was plenty to see and do within the core game, but the big draw was a huge suite of tools that let players build their own gaming experiences. Whether you wanted to make a Mario clone or add your own twist to an adventure game like Uncharted or Fable, Project Spark gave players the tools to get creative.
To be clear, folks who own Project Spark will still be able to play the game following the server shutdown, they just won't be able to download or upload creations. The developers are encouraging anyone who still plays the game to be sure and download anything they want to play before the cutoff date of August 12.
The shutdown post goes on to talk about all of the good things that came of Project Spark, including 46 content packs and 16 updates following launch. Obviously, that doesn't touch the number of creations players added to the experience simply by uploading their own games.
The good news here is that, according to the post, everyone working on the game has already been shifted over to other projects, so no jobs were lost in the closure. Also, if you recently bought into Project Spark, you won't be getting left out in the cold here. Those who redeemed a Project Spark Starter Kit sold at retailers will have a credit pop up on their Microsoft account. Said credit will be available to use on whatever you want from the Xbox and Windows store. The only catch is that you need to have purchased the game after October 5 of last year.
It's always a bummer to see a game go, especially one that isn't exactly long in the tooth yet. But at least they're doing right by recent customers, giving everyone a fair warning and nobody got the axe. That's basically the best you can hope for in situations like this.