After studio closures, Xbox may have finally run out of goodwill

After studio closures, Xbox may have finally run out of goodwill
Image via Xbox | Tango Gameworks | Arkane Austin

Written by 

Joseph Kime

Published 

9th May 2024 17:25

We hope we won't be the first to tell you, but man, the gaming industry is in one hell of a state right now. For the last couple of years, layoffs have trickled through the cracks, coming as nasty shocks between routine excitements.

In the first half of 2024, it feels very much as though we've felt those shocks become lethal lightning strikes. Riot Games kicked the horrors into full force when it laid off 530 team members in one fell swoop before Sony and Microsoft jumped in, forming an accidental domino.

We've seen almost as many staff members laid off in four months as in the entirety of 2023. 2024 has been host to some evil practices in service of profits, and not even the champions of the industry are safe. As more closures plague Xbox, the atmosphere has shifted.

Now that the games themselves are getting involved, fans feel it's time to bring about change. You're late to the party, but we're glad you're here because it's only you who can deliver change, and it seems that the shift has already begun.

Fans are giving up on hoping for Xbox's kindness

A look at the city featured in Hi-Fi Rush.
Click to enlarge
Image via Tango Gameworks

Microsoft has done little other than disappoint players this year, and we're not just talking about its tangible output. Though there's something to be said about the weak plays in game development, the grandest frustrations boil down to the company's choices regarding its team members and studios.

The worst was seen earlier this year when the company laid off 1,900 members of staff. It left a grim marker that Xbox was so deadset on acquiring multi-billion dollar company Activision Blizzard King that it didn't care who it let go to justify it. Now, four studios, both minor and major, have been dissolved, and with them, the dreams of many sequels.

Tango Gameworks seems to be the sorest point for many players, with the team behind The Evil Within and Ghostwire: Tokyo. Tango proved its huge talents with cult classics and huge barnstormers, with recent headliner Hi-Fi Rush being a smash hit for players that spread over onto the PS5 with great results. Despite the raucous success of the studio, it's been shuttered.

It's tragic news for any game studio to be shut down, but a horrible new precedent has been set that indicates that not even a brilliant game can win a team's survival. As Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty can't seem to do anything to take the sting out of it, players are more furious than ever.

Xbox has lost the benefit of the doubt

The key art for Hi-Fi Rush.
Click to enlarge
Image via Tango Gameworks

New reports from Bloomberg claim that Xbox could be planning even more closures, and after Tango Gameworks' axe following a huge success (and Booty saying that it needs "smaller games that give us prestige and awards" the day after the closure of a studio producing such games), gamers know that success means nothing in the decisions of closures. Anyone could be next.

The console wars have raged for some time, with many supporting Xbox. However, as players feel that the company is donning a blindfold and firing the layoff shotgun in any direction, many feel no one is helping anymore. It seems as though Microsoft is off its leash, running rampant into game studios and scaring them from the industry forever.

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With more closures potentially on the way, the pitfalls of the acquisition meta pioneered by the buyout of Activision Blizzard have finally manifested. Microsoft's gaming arm threatens to become a studio graveyard, with only Todd Howard's band of Starfield peddlers left standing.

This isn't an eventuality anyone wants, but with Phil Spencer's silence and more losses looming, many think Xbox doesn't actually care that much. It owns the companies, so why should it bother being sad to switch them off for good?

It takes a lot to band such a broad community together, but Xbox fans are feeling betrayed as a collective. Some will forget about this when Call of Duty inevitably makes it to Game Pass, but if we're lucky, many won't.

Some feel Xbox is long overdue for the silent treatment, with players like you able to make a difference when we all stand up and shout a defiant "no." Remember how you feel now the next time the company tries to win you back, and maybe, just maybe, we'll get to see an end to the grim situation we've found ourselves in.

Joseph Kime
About the author
Joseph Kime
Joseph Kime is the Senior Trending News Journalist for GGRecon from Devon, UK. Before graduating from MarJon University with a degree in Journalism, he started writing music reviews for his own website before writing for the likes of FANDOM, Zavvi and The Digital Fix. He is host of the Big Screen Book Club podcast, and author of Building A Universe, a book that chronicles the history of superhero movies. His favourite games include DOOM (2016), Celeste and Pokemon Emerald.
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