Report: Xbox Entertainment Studios is no more

The team hired to turn the Xbox One into a mass-market entertainment device with TV programming has exited the company, as promised in July -- but earlier than expected.
Hollywood trade magazine Variety reports that Xbox Entertainment Studios, the arm of the company which was developing programs based on its game lineup and original shows featuring TV stars, is no more. According to Variety, former CBS exec Nancy Tellem and the rest of her team have been let go, despite an expectation that they'd have the rest of the year to finalize the fate of the studio's projects. Tellem was hired in 2012 to helm the division; the company made the decision to wind down Xbox Entertainment Studios after Satya Nadella became the company's new CEO and re-focused its Xbox efforts on games. Though it had been reported that the Halo TV series under development by the studio is still on track, Variety says that its fate is unclear following the studio's closure. The studio was reportedly going to be given time to finish its existing projects before being closed, but that seems to no longer be the case. Nadella unveiled a plan to change Microsoft earlier this year; that plan included 18,000 layoffs, the final 3,000 of which took place today and which included Xbox Entertainment Studios, according to Variety. The move might be a mistake, according to one Gamasutra blogger: "Bankrolling exclusive TV shows can be a cheaper option to make a system stand out than funding exclusive AAA games, and Microsoft’s original plan to release a portfolio of ad-supported television shows available only on Xbox could have been a major differentiator for the system," Bryan Cashman wrote in September. For its part, Sony is working with comic scribe Brian Michael Bendis on Powers, a new TV show that will debut on the PlayStation Network in December 2014.

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