Xbox will shut down entertainment branch and lay off thousands

Posted Jul 18, 2014 by Ryan Hite
Xbox previously announced an entertainment division in development, which now seems to not be happening amid a ton of layoffs.
Xbox One
Xbox One
2013 Microsoft
Microsoft will close the planned direct-to-Xbox entertainment branch as part of the extensive layoffs of up to 18,000 people announced on Thursday, ending plans for original programming targeting the gaming demographic using the recently released X-Box One.
Re/code reports the news of the closure first as a rumor, which was confirmed by Xbox chief Phil Spencer. The some 200 employees in the entertainment branch are included in the layoffs announced.
Spencer told Re/code that the executives like Nancy Tellum, who were brought on from CBS in 2012 to start Xbox Entertainment Studios, will remain on to finish projects already in production. She showed the studio's first project which was a series based on Halo directed by Stephen Spielberg at the Xbox One console reveal in 2013. Since then, other projects have been announced such as a Halo digital series directed by Ridley Scott and a documentary on the Atari games buried in the New Mexico desert.
This decision to cut Xbox Entertainment Studios reflects the recent changes Xbox has undergone. The console launched as an "all-in-one games and entertainment system," but that seems to be a strategy in question in response to the large market lead by Sony's PlayStation 4 over the console. During this year's E3 conference, Microsoft focused its entire message on games and excluded any entertainment options.
This contrasts with Sony, which announced it was entering the streaming entertainment business at E3 with the creation of a digital streaming series based on the comic book Powers.