Making profitable games?! Not in Microsoft's backyard...

Because we play other games too.

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Making profitable games?! Not in Microsoft's backyard...

Postby ThunderTitan » Nov 4 2008, 10:26

...


http://kotaku.com/5047632/shane-kim-del ... o-ensemble

Here's the dear john e-mail:

Today, we shared with our employees at Ensemble that we have plans to close the studio after Halo Wars RTM. Such a decision is never easy. Like any business, we’re accountable for making tradeoffs and the right level of investments that will drive profit and future growth. However, as we reviewed our first-party portfolio and where we need to invest and divest our resources to achieve our long-term strategies, it became clear to us that closing the studio and redeploying those resources to other more scalable ventures is the right thing for our business at this time.

Unfortunately, our decision to close Ensemble will adversely impact many of the studio's team members. Following the closure, the Ensemble leadership team will form a new entity and have agreed to partner with Microsoft to develop future products and provide support for Halo Wars post launch. While the new company will be hiring a portion of the Ensemble employees, its size and resources prevent it from offering positions to the entire Ensemble team. We hope to integrate much of this creative talent into MGS or the broader IEB team, where we have relevant openings.

Ensemble Studios has produced many notable games over the years – including the Ages franchise – that have helped MGS become a leader in interactive entertainment. And now, Halo Wars is already proving to be a hit by people who have seen and played early versions of the game. The Ensemble team is committed to continuing its development, testing and support of Halo Wars through to the completion of halo wars. We're also working closely with the studio’s leaders to ensure a smooth launch of the game in early 2009 and continuing support thereafter. We will support the studio in every way possible as they work to deliver this highly anticipated game.

This action notwithstanding, I want to emphasize that the overall investment Microsoft is making in video game development is not diminished, and we will continue to bring in talent to work on titles and franchises where we'll see the most ROI. Our priority is to continue to nurture the creative freedom that allows us to successfully drive our business strategy forward. Meanwhile, we're launching some outstanding games over the next few months. We've just launched Too Human and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, and soon we'll see many other games hit retail store shelves, including Scene It! 2, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, Lips and, of course, Halo Wars.

I want to thank you for your hard work and focus as we head into the next few months and make this a blowout year for first-party games. Please be supportive and respectful of our Ensemble colleagues as they go through this tough time.

Phil




Yeah, closing game devs, another thing pirates can stop feeling guilty about...
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Postby ThunderTitan » Nov 14 2008, 9:10

What, no interest at all?! No Age of Empires fans out here?!
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Postby Talin_Trollbane » Nov 14 2008, 11:56

been a long time since i played Ages of Empire, and i have to confess i couldnt place the name Ensamble with Age of Empires first :?
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Postby theLuckyDragon » Nov 14 2008, 12:05

Those bastards. AoE was among the first games I ever played. I practically learned what an RTS is with AoE. And I've enjoyed countless hours of fun with AoE II and my friends. It's a sad in a way...
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Postby Kristo » Nov 14 2008, 12:25

Chill out, TT, it's just business. From what I read in that letter and Microsoft's press release, it sounds like they're taking the leaders who were actually successful (a rarity in the gaming industry) at selling games to the masses and putting them to work... *drumroll* ... selling more games to the masses. I'm sure M$ wants Ensemble's level of notoriety attached to the MGS brand. What better way to do that than to leverage the people who made the Ensemble brand famous?
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Postby ThunderTitan » Nov 14 2008, 21:50

because everyone knows that getting rid of a studio but keeping some people always works so well... just look at Hellgate: London...

and getting rid of successful devs for the sake of corporate expediency is always a good sign...
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Postby Macros the Black » Nov 14 2008, 22:06

Talin_Trollbane wrote:been a long time since i played Ages of Empire, and i have to confess i couldnt place the name Ensamble with Age of Empires first :?
Me neither. And also, AOE 3 sucked anyway :P
ThunderTitan wrote:because everyone knows that getting rid of a studio but keeping some people always works so well... just look at Hellgate: London...

and getting rid of successful devs for the sake of corporate expediency is always a good sign...
Actually, it did work well.. Look at WoW.
It's not Blizzard's fault those guys decided to create a new studio that produced Hellgate.

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Postby ThunderTitan » Nov 14 2008, 22:13

Macros the Black wrote:And also, AOE 3 sucked anyway :P
Actually, it did work well.. Look at WoW.


:creative: :devil:
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Postby Meandor » Nov 15 2008, 8:53

Kristo wrote:Chill out, TT, it's just business. From what I read in that letter and Microsoft's press release, it sounds like they're taking the leaders who were actually successful (a rarity in the gaming industry) at selling games to the masses and putting them to work... *drumroll* ... selling more games to the masses. I'm sure M$ wants Ensemble's level of notoriety attached to the MGS brand. What better way to do that than to leverage the people who made the Ensemble brand famous?


I think that "Don`t fix it if it ain`t broken" works here.
...

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Postby Kristo » Nov 15 2008, 16:56

Who's to say Ensemble wasn't broken? Microsoft's statement said the studio was closed for financial reasons. To me, that either means they were too expensive (i.e., overstaffed) or hadn't lined up enough to future work to ensure long-term profitability. Combine that with their plans to ramp up the Microsoft Game Studios brand, and it's a no-brainer to do exactly what they did.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Nov 15 2008, 18:34

Kristo wrote: Microsoft's statement said the studio was closed for financial reasons. To me, that either means they were too expensive (i.e., overstaffed) or hadn't lined up enough to future work to ensure long-term profitability. Combine that with their plans to ramp up the Microsoft Game Studios brand, and it's a no-brainer to do exactly what they did.


It's cheaper to just have 1 game studio... we know... but that's looking at it from only the economic PoV...

If they where overstaffed lay-offs would have been simpler and it's not like MS can't get them work in the future...


And haven't we learned anything about "future value" from the current "economic crisis"?!
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