Microsoft announced today (July 17) that it is cutting up to 18,000 jobs as part of a massive restructuring, and it looks like Xbox Entertainment won't survive the purge. The Xbox division responsible for creating Xbox Originals television programming has been axed, as confirmed by Xbox lead Phil Spencer. However, there's still a silver lining for fans expecting to see "Halo" on TV.
In a note issued today, Spencer said Xbox Entertainment Studios has been closed in an effort to "streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox."
Despite the studio being shuttered, Spencer notes that members of the team will continue to work on orignal programming, including the documentary series "Signal to Noise," the "Halo: Nightfall" series that will launch with "The Master Chief Collection" video-game package and the dedicated "Halo" TV series that's being developed alongside "Halo" game studio 343 Industries.
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Spencer also stated that Xbox will continue to offer "NFL on Xbox" and will be making consistent improvements to the Xbox TV experience through software updates.
While "Halo" fans can breathe a sigh of relief, Spencer has not confirmed whether or not the handful of previously announced Xbox Originals shows will survive. The shows were slated to be based on game franchises such as "Fable," "Gears of War," "Age of Empires," "Forza Motorsport" and "State of Decay," and there's a good chance that many of those concepts could bite the dust.
Because the planned "Halo" shows will survive this purge, it seems Microsoft will be focusing only on its biggest franchises for original programming. The Xbox One itself has already shifted its focus from entertainment to games over its short life cycle, and, sadly for TV fans, could offer far less original entertainment content than Microsoft originally intended.