Microsoft is closing the Redmond-based development studio that made team sports games for Xbox. The move eliminates 76 jobs. The internal unit made titles for Xbox under Microsoft’s XSN Sports brand. The company said the affected employees would be offered other available Microsoft jobs. Microsoft said in March that it wouldn’t release new versions of its XSN titles this year while it re-evaluated the lineup. Then in May the company announced a deal to expand its relationship with Electronic Arts to make popular EA Sports titles such as Madden NFL available for online play on Xbox Live.
A Microsoft spokesperson said the two decisions aren’t related. The closure of the sports game studio ends development of NFL Fever and NBA Inside Drive. NHL Rivals also has been cancelled. Still in development are an Amped snowboarding game and another Links golf release. The TopSpin series of tennis offerings will continue as well. The XSN team sports titles had struggled for market share against competing games for Xbox from EA and Sega.
Thanks to the Seattle Post Intellegencer for the story.