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Microsoft Benches Sports Games! - 8/22/2004 9:27:28 AM   

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Microsoft has closed the division that created mainstream-sports games for its Xbox console, laying off 76 employees as a result, a company representative confirmed Friday.

The software giant recently shut down its Sports Game Studio in Redmond, Wash., spokeswoman Molly O'Donnell said. The studio produced first-party team sports titles for the Xbox, including the "NFL Fever" football series, "NBA Inside Drive" basketball and "NHL Rivals" hockey. A separate studio in Utah that develops individual sports games, such as the "Amped" snowboarding title, is not affected by the cuts, she said.

O'Donnell said the move is part of an overall shift of development resources, as the Xbox market has matured. Instead of sinking money into "me, too" titles, Microsoft is focusing on big-ticket games such as the upcoming shooter "Halo 2," expected to provoke a surge in Xbox sales.

"Microsoft Game Studios is focusing its overall mission," O'Donnell said. "The third-party developers are doing a great job, and they're filling the pipeline up with great games throughout the genres. So internally, we're focusing more on games that are epic in scale and platform-defining."

Source : CNET
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