Why did Microsoft close down Project Spark? Community and expert opinion

By LadylexUK

Now, I have already done a video on 10 reasons why we lost our favourite game (Check it out on my YouTube channel LadylexUK), but I think it is interesting to listen to other people’s take on the closure and its causes. I have read many articles, posts, comments and videos and the same themes come up. Here are some of the reviewers and their commentors opinions.

Jermoni (comment) “Most of the content creators of gaming have grown up and we’ve got the game but not the time.Most youth into gaming seem to lack the curiosity and attention span for games this deep.”

Chris Frieberg (Den of Geek) “Project Spark was a victim of poor timing and even worse business decisions….Microsoft unveiled Project Spark during its otherwise abysmal E3 2013 presentation. You might remember that as the conference that almost sank the Xbox One before it was even released. …Minecraft was then announced for the Xbox One at the same E3 as Project Spark, which made Microsoft’s experiment in world-building seem a bit redundant on the Xbox lineup. …Project Spark was originally pitched as an all-ages title, so the debauchery and gore of Conker was never a good fit, not to mention that younger gamers who weren’t born with N64 controllers in their hands had no clue who this rude orange squirrel was. Conker just wasn’t the incentive to get kids playing the game again. And worst of all, Conker’s Big Reunion just wasn’t very good. ”

geertvdheide (comment) “To be fair, creation games like these don’t have that big a market. The vast majority of gamers wants to play games, not make them. Project Spark was never very popular and I don’t think the potential for a huge multi-million player hit was there. ”

Sam Machkovech (ARS Technica UK)Spark‘s troubles began with a series of confusing sales pitches at various expos alongside the burgeoning (and then Kinect-saddled) Xbox One. Marketing teams never effectively sold the possibilities and power of Spark’s make-your-own-game system. While short teaser videos hinted at the game enabling everything from kart racers to airborne battles, major demonstrations tended to revolve more around generic 3D platformers. Our own game reviewer Steven Strom appreciated the product’s potential but bemoaned its barriers to entry, including how the game taught users and how its search engines made discoverability a pain in the tuchus….

Grant Brunner (Extreme Tech) “Back in March, Microsoft announced that it was cancelling Fable Legends. Sadly, that news also came along with the closure of both Lionhead Studios (Fable, Black & White) and Press Play (Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Kalimba). It seems that many of the employees from Project Spark’s development team (Team Dakota) have been shuffled to different parts of Microsoft Studios instead of being terminated, but this is yet another example of Phil Spencer and company trimming the fat….Keep in mind, Project Spark began development long before Microsoft acquired Minecraft in September of 2014. The two games aren’t identical by any means, but there’s clearly a fair bit of crossover between the two. And from a business perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to keep throwing resources toward this struggling project when you already have an incredibly successful game with a similar target audience.”

Kareem Anderson (on MSFT) “During its initial debut, Project Spark received high praise from many reviewers and news outlets including VentureBeat, IGN, and Hardcore Gamer. Unfortunately, Microsoft under-promoted and seemingly backtracked on Project Spark as updates to the game/tool were delivered few and far between and the company appeared to halt any mention of it in the subsequent years….Personally, I believe Microsoft is hedging its bet with its investment in Minecraft and will more than likely shuffle the Project Spark talent into projects that highlight that property as Microsoft’s new gaming and creation tool. ”

Sam Prell (gamesradar) “I’m not terribly surprised at the news of Project Spark’s demise. It was an ambitious concept, but also a little hard to grasp. It existed somewhere between engine software and full-fledged game, allowing users to create worlds, movies, or their own games. ”

Paul Renshaw (Pure X Box) “As the game went to a “free incubation model” last year (i.e. free to play), it appears that the development staff have been reassigned, so the one silver lining here appears to be that there will be no job losses as a result.”

starcrossed (Comment) “I walked myself around project spark since the beta. The engine was limiting for true developing, therefore the whole thing became stale as the time passed. There were some very good community efforts but in general everything was too mediocre for project spark surviving in the long run.”

archronos (Comment) “Seems like they’ve given up on the whole “games as a service” model for now. Real shame too since this could have been Microsoft’s answer to Little Big Planet, but they squandered yet another opportunity due to a botched release and weird marketing.”



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