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MGS Confirms Ensemble Closure - Updated

GameSpot reports a confirmation that Microsoft Game Studios is planning on closing Ensemble Studios after completion of development of the console RTS game Halo Wars (story). The statement is complementary of the studio, saying the closure does not reflect on the quality of their work, going on to explain this was about the bottom line: "This was a fiscally rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible." The also say the "leadership team" will form a new studio that will support Halo and "work on other MGS projects." Update: GamesIndustry.biz has what is purported to be an internal email from Microsoft Game Studios boss Phil Spencer to the MGS staff explaining the move, and offering reassurances that in spite of whittling down to two internal studios (Lionhead and Rare), Microsoft is still committed to first-party game development. On the other hand, WildTangent CEO Alex St John made a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, the former MS evangelist and current MS naysayer says that this represents Microsoft Game Studios entering a "cost recovery phase" where they will be concentrating less on first-party development in an attempt to become profitable, saying Sony is in a similar mode.

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12. No next gen consoles Sep 10, 2008, 20:31 UnderLord
 
I think MS and Sony have realised what I said months ago, without PC gaming and gaming enthusiasts to drive and finance incremental CPU and GPU development, the cost of making a significantly improved next generation of consoles would be astronomical.
Neither has made any money on this generation and the next generation losses would kill them, they HAVE to support PC gaming, whatever BS they spout.

 
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11. Re: No subject Sep 10, 2008, 17:16 Prez
 
Talk about going out with a whimper. A brilliant development studio going out like this is a crime.

That sure is some incentive to put out a good product. "Get cracking on finishing that console-centric quasi-RTS, so we can fire you!" What a motivator!
 
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10. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 15:54 baltar
 
Rest in Peace Ensemble.. Rest in Peace..

You've released some great games in the past.

 
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9. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 15:11 dryden555
 
It sounds like MS doesnt want to make 1st party games anymore and they are consolidating. If I were working at Rare, I'd get out.

 
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8. Re: Truly a shame Sep 10, 2008, 14:07 the_culture
 
Microsoft said that Ensemble's "leadership team" will form a new development house and has already entered into an agreement with the publisher to continue supporting Halo Wars post-launch, "as well as work on other projects with Microsoft Game Studios."

Ensemble just got demolished; their "leadership team" is forming a new company; and they STILL want to work with Microsoft!? Okaaaaaaaaaaay...

the Ensemble move is not indicative of a wider move away from videogames investment.

Microsoft went on to add, "We are not supporting the PC in any way, shape or form."

 
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7. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 13:14 ^mortis^
 
"This was a fiscally rooted decision that keeps MGS on its growth path. While the decision to dissolve Ensemble was not an easy one, Microsoft is working to place as many Ensemble employees who do not move to the newly formed studio into open positions within Microsoft as possible."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U11fg_aNncI

^m^

 
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6. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 12:15 Tumbler
 
The statement is complementary of the studio, saying the closure does not reflect on the quality of their work, going on to explain this was about the bottom line.

Hello, I was born yesterday, and I for one am relieved to hear that Halo Wars will still be a great game even though everyone who made it getting fired right after it's done. Can't wait to buy this game, sight unseen, and know with 100% certainty that it will be a great game. Can I pay early via cashiers check?

 
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5. Re: No subject Sep 10, 2008, 10:41 The Half Elf
 
It seems that Microsoft is just getting rid of the Ensemble name and moving everyone under the Microsoft Game Studio umbrella.

Kinda wonder if Bungie was on the same route? Instead of being folded into Microsoft, was released from them?

 
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4. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 09:46 tuddies
 
way to end a legendary studio with console crap.

 
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3. No subject Sep 10, 2008, 09:31 nin
 

Why do people keep talking to Alex "malware, there will be no next generation of consoles" St John?

Sucks about Ensemble. Hope everyone there find good jobs elsewhere.



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2. Re: Truly a shame Sep 10, 2008, 08:31 Paketep
 
Oh, they can make more than enough to survive. It's just not enough for the greedy bastards at Microsoft.

Also, destroying the Age brand helps them sink more the PC platform and favors the 360. PCGA at its best!

 
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1. Truly a shame Sep 10, 2008, 08:26 Verno
 
It's a sad day when the makers of Age of Empires can't make enough money for their studio to survive. I can't imagine many of those guys being happy just churning out Halo sequels for the rest of their life.

 
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Playing: Alien Isolation, 7 Days to Die, Dragon Age Origins
Watching: The Canal, Brazil, The Town That Dreaded Sundown
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