Microsoft lays off staff at game studio, cans games

Microsoft is shelving two of its gaming products and laying off staff at its Vancouver studios, the company has announced.  It is just the latest ...

Microsoft is shelving two of its gaming products and laying off staff at its Vancouver studios, the company has announced. 

It is just the latest in a series of game studio closures, relocations or layoffs in Vancouver.

News of the layoffs spawned rumours that Microsoft is closing its Vancouver studio entirely. The company responded with a statement that it is not closing the studio, although it remains unclear what the studio's eventual fate may be.

"Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company," the company said in official statement to Kotaku, the game news site that broke the story. "This decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management."

Microsoft is shelving two of its game projects – a flight simulator called Microsoft Flight and a children's Kinect game. The company has not confirmed the number of staff being let go, although various tech and game sites report the number to be more than 30.

Microsoft's Vancouver studio is just the latest to suffer either layoffs or closure. Capcom Games Studios recently laid off 20 employess – 7% of its staff – Radical Entertainment has closed entirely and Rockstar Games is relocating its Vancouver studio to Toronto.

See next week's issue of Business in Vancouver for news about the state of the Vancouver gaming industry. Industry insiders say B.C. cannot compete with Ontario and Quebec, where digital media tax credits are double what they are in B.C.

nbennett@biv.com

@nbennett_biv

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