Microsoft may cut back on its original Xbox television series plans [Update]

A new report from Variety claims that Microsoft's Xbox division could cut back on its plans to fund and produce a series of original TV shows and specials. The changes could be made as part of the company's restructuring plans that will cause 18,000 employees to lose their jobs.

The report, which uses unnamed sources, claims Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is now questioning the company's plans for the Xbox division to product original shows for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 game consoles, along with other Microsoft-based devices. Microsoft launched Xbox Studios in Santa Monica, California in 2012 and hired former CBS network executive Nancy Tellem to lead the division.

In April, Microsoft announced a slate of shows, under the umbrella brand Xbox Originals that were either in active development or in the planning stages. Variety's report suggests that the Halo TV series, with Steven Spielberg serving as one of its executive producers, is still scheduled to be produced under an partnership with Showtime. However, the list of the other shows under the Xbox Originals banner are expected to be "significantly trimmed" thanks to Nadella's proposed changes.

Microsoft also has a separate Halo digital live action series that's already in production and will be released this fall as part of the Xbox One Halo Master Chief Collection. What do you think of Microsoft possibly cutting back on its Xbox Originals plans?

Update: Another report, this time from Re/code and once again based on unnamed sources, claims that Microsoft will slowly shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios, although projects that are still in production such as the Halo TV series will continue to be developed. The article did not state just how long it will take to fully close the studio, which has 200 team members.

Source: Variety

John Callaham
  • Oh how I miss thiy balmer
  • So much!
  • 1. It's all about games baby
    2. What the fucking hell is Satya Nadella doing?
  • Exactly! Now I am curious about the future of XB live games on Windows Phone, fewer and fewer by the day.. It looks like for this new administration, consumers are just for experimenting stuff and they are quite disposable. Eventually, it would be "all about enterprise" which matters most, where Nadella's expertise shine. Some are even suggesting its bad time to be a Microsoft fan.
  • They never seem committed to entertainment outside of tech, perhaps a different approach would make sense... Kind of a bummer though. I remember when they originally cut back on their Live studios. I still miss Bridget O'Neil, the erstwhile "Lily Lulay" @_@
  • Now I don't like Satya anymore. Xbox Originals are awesome.
  • +920
  • Wow, Nadella is making a lot of changes! I'm really hoping we will see some concrete successes as a result.
  • Indeed. Perhaps people lack the realization that Microsoft exists mostly thanks to Businesses. The support and interest in TV as big as it may seem is just another gross underdog in the world of entertainment. It's nice to tackle many aspects at once, but perhaps some things are best left in the hands of others. I think that's Satya's angle here it seems. It would seem you could only hope to see something like this actually be up their alley if it generated as much interest as other online TV sources. Until it does, how can they be expected to continue on with it if it's just a waste of money?
  • Oh, they will be very successful, but at what cost? Will they become IBM? Do they truly care about the consumer anymore? This is going to be interesting to watch. Also, feel for the 18k. Sure, they have to cut back, but...I can't help but think about all those folks who may have been great employees. In that large of a company, they aren't 'John Smith' they are js555n. Out however their employee codes work. What a day...
  • A Halo series is what most people probably want to see, and it actually gives them a rich universe to explore, if they do it right it could be as big a money maker as the game itself. This seems like a prudent move, stick with gaming releated programming and ditch the risky stuff.
  • Hopefully this isn't the wrong move. This could upset Microsoft's play as a Media Hub for our Living Rooms!
    Nevertheless I'm Glad to see that HALO: THE TV SERIES is still on the table! If Microsoft uses Cortana's pop culture popularity which spans 15years, a series of games, collectibles, Novels and more, tying in the Halo World via a Mainstream TV Series, hopefully with Cortana as character could really propel "her" to the forefront of peoples minds, increasing mindshare and making her a Windows Phone Hero Feature! Google Now and Siri have no "identity" beyond the platforms of which they are a part. Cortana on Windows is vastly different in that regard. Microsoft just needs to "tell her story!"
    Here's some of my thoughts:
    "Hey, I Want a Windows Phone! Cortana's "Halo" Effect."
  • Hmmm, Satya is on a killing spree it seems.
  • Yeah, and I think this is just the beginning, believe it or not.
  • It helped google to kill some projects every year. But so many and all this workforce...
  • What a day !!
    Yet I am not sure what to think of all this news
  • Here we go. I can see all the headlines now. MSFT CEO cuts Xbox. Severe cuts to cripple Xbox. MSFT to spin off Xbox.
  • That's never going to happen. Again: Xbox is very close from outside the Core focus. Meaning it will get allot of support from all sides. Even xbox + Windowsphone is in the planning. So don't worry. Its more likely Sony is cutting of the bad entertainment section that contains ps4. Even though its not PlayStations fault.
  • I know its never going to happen but the gaming"journalism" sites will use headlines like that for clicks.
  • Serial killer!!
  • Thanks a lot Nadella.  
  • "Everything halo will be safe. Some will be gone people love. But plenty of good stuff is planned to release that will make people happy and excited " So I don't think its going to be that bad for us Xbox gamers. :)
  • Xbox what, to be honest I'd rather see Microsoft that and that, not "Xbox". Xbox is just an Xbox for me as long as it's services are not available for all of us.
  • I agree with you. Xbox is a toy for the home. It seems odd to me to name your services after the toy product. Xbox, after all, is only the current iteration of their hardware platform through which to distribute these services. And it is only one of many platforms capable of accessing these services. From a laymens perspective, how likely is the lady down the street being convinced to switch from Spotify to Xbox Music when she thinks: "But I don't even own an Xbox". Microsoft Music, Microsoft Video, or even One Music, One Video... these kinds of names, to me, are more in line with current general branding from Microsoft and have a better chance at reaching a wider audience beyond the narrow market of their gaming toy.
  • Exactly like this. Some people don't even know that Xbox is owned by Microsoft.. I like the One or MS naming instead.
  • The non-Halo stuff has nothing to do with any of MS's core businesses, so makes sense.
  • Stick to mobile and cloud Nadella and leave the Xbox division alone or I will find you and I will slap you with a printed copy of your 3000 word email with the text being in green and the font size on 100
  • Every street united is pretty good.
  • I can see why the the other projects have been trimmed down, however they do need to create other IPs which may need some sort of  live action backstory to push sales. I guess this is a pre-emptive move to save money in the short term if anything else.
  • I was really looking forward to these, and it was good to see Microsoft get more diverse into content providing especially as content seems to be shifting to more and more unique companies than it has in the past.
  • I miss Ballmer!
  • So, so much.
  • I really don't care. I wouldn't have paid for Xbox TV anyway. I already have Netflix, which has great original programming like "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black".
  • I really do care. I would've paid for Xbox TV. And I already have Netflix, Hulu plus, and Amazon prime. Cord cutter here, haven't had cable/satellite in 5 years.
  • I'm also a cord cutter, but I did not see any value in Xbox TV content.
  • Don't mind. A company like this so engrained in government has other considerations when producing series. I got the feeling forward unto dawn was recruiting more followers to halo. Halo has enough followers. So does call if duty. Does call of duty have a feature film? I hope he axes those stupid fucking toys next.
  • A rumor based on anonymous Nutella mind readers. Whatever!
  • Does this mean the Voodoo Vince series is off the cards?
  • With all those cuts I hope they dont go under
  • Good for Microsoft, they realize that they must devote more resources to their core products and services. IMO, they have much more pertinent issues that need fixing in order to grow their base. For instance, getting Windows 9 right, improving the WP experience and broadening its market strategy, ensuring that their own apps are of the highest quality and usability such as Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Office mobile. Overall I think this is a positive step in the right direction.
  • Dang I was hoping Microsoft would turn their platform into a Netflix esque service
  • Same here ... :(
  • Its the inside xbox incident all over again. Its been 2yrs. Since that massacre
  • I like to think Microsoft has a bigger plan in sight. I'm a fan of win 8.1 PC / phone & Xbox one. There is so much potential in what we have seen. Its all starting to come together, well I like to think so. But its starting to to worry me all this less positive news. Is Microsoft really doing ok or panicking? With all these back flips, weak marketing of products and now 18,000 job on the line (restructure/reducing duplicate roles). I'm just hoping for these dark clouds to pass and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • Oh boy. This is exactly what I feared when Nadella/Spencer took over. The vision of the all-in-one box is slowly getting killed.
  • I don't understand why microsoft can't do what netflix and amazon does with a paid service for streaming  
  • I can see them bringing originals back based on the success of the Halo series. If its a smash hit it would make perfect sense to further invest in it.
  • They are shutting down the studio which was quite a task to create. Even if the Halo show is a huge success they probably wont do it all over again.
  • I disagree, if ratings and reviews were stellar they will do more, if not Xbox Originals, then through another studio to be contracted out. I am really looking forward to the TV version (if its going to be on Showtime if that's the rumor and its true).
  • Yet another of the xbox one's selling points goes down the drain.
  • This gives me little confidence in purchasing Xbox video content I'd Microsoft can't support there own service to make it better!
  • I don't like all that is happening today, but i don't think that is fair. Partnering for content and creating content are two completely different things. EDIT: Or, maybe I just hope you are wrong... I am investing a little fortune in Xbox Video.
  • I kinda disagree. It seems narrow, but Xbox is so mainstream these days that calling it Xbox music or Xbox video at least calls attention to it.
  • Wow working for MS is really dangerous right now
  • I don't see the point that people are very upset by this. In fact, I thought they were a little nutty in investing in original content at the magnitude they were aiming for. I can see why they want to though, Microsoft has the talent and bank account to pull it off. I think its better if they started very small and then build it up. If Halo web series and Halo TV series are very successful (also their docu-series), then they will do more of it. That's why they will slowly cut away at it. If they hurry up with these new series and release it, then the world can see the content Xbox Originals is capable of. Lets walk before we run!
  • I always thought it was a waste of resources for MS to produce tv shows. Halo I can see as it will help promote the upcoming Halo game releases but other than that, it doesnt make much sense.
  • I loved Satya. Now I have one thing to say. Fuck You.