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Earlier today it was reported that Microsoft is cutting 18,000 jobs from their total pool of 127,000 employees. Part of those jobs being cut will come from the Xbox Entertainment Studios, the branch from the Xbox brand that was in charge of producing original television programming content.
Recode.net is reporting that 200 employees are being laid off from their work positions at the Xbox Entertainment Studios division, an outlet that was supposed to focus on bringing in studio quality content for exclusive distribution on the Xbox One home entertainment device.
Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella sent out the following memo to those working in the Xbox division...
“The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming,” .... “We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation. Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox.”
The division opened in 2012 and was part of then CEO Steve Ballmer and then Xbox division head Don Mattrick's long term goals for the Xbox media branch. Things didn't work out so well for the Xbox One in 2013 with a lot of negative press and harsh criticisms about the device's functionality and focus on television and media features over gaming.
Ballmer and Mattrick are now no longer with the company and Phil Spencer is now the head over the Xbox division.
Spencer recently made the following comments in regard to the impending closure of the Xbox Entertainment Studios, saying...
“Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like ‘NFL on Xbox,’ and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates,” ... “Additionally, our app partnerships with world-class content providers bringing entertainment, sports and TV content to Xbox customers around the world are not impacted by this organizational change.”
The recode article notes that the documentary series “Signal to Noise” and the Halo “Nightfall” series are still being planned to release as they finish up production.
The Xbox Entertainment Studios was one of the more least affected divisions, however. As GamesIndustry.biz notes that the recently acquired Nokia outfit will suffer 12,500 job cuts.
CEO Nadella stated that...
"It's important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we are adding roles in certain other strategic areas," ... "My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible."
Supposedly none of the Xbox games division studios or projects have been touched in the process, but Nadella wants to focus more on “work simplification” across the board. Whether or not that means they'll return to the Xbox games division at a later date or not remains to be seen, but The Next Web did report that the Xbox One's sales in June were double what they were in May, so there may be some good news for the Xbox brand after all.