Ensemble Down!

Wow..what is it with Microsoft Game Studios and the dev companies under them?  That is two studios shut down after a major release or pending release.  If you haven’t heard, MSG is shutting down Ensemble.  Apparently, they already have let some go, and will maintain a small group of them under the MSG name in order to support Halo Wars once it is released.

Kotaku has an interesting take on it with their opinion being maybe they are trying to distance themselves from PC game development, citing the recent news that there will be no PC version of Gears of War 2.

3 Responses to “Ensemble Down!” »»

  1. Comment by mwhitman | 09/10/08 at 3:59 pm

    Not good news.

    I always have & always will be a PC gamer (PC = Personal Computer), heck my last console was my Atari 2600. But you can see why many Devs prefer consoles theses days.

    In the not too distant past you where always guarenteed a PC games mark if for no other reason that certain types of popular games weren’t suited to consoles. RTS Copmmand & Conqure style games, FPS games (mouse & keyboard still beat any console pad for them. Although the Wii’s controlers are interesting), Grand Strats such as Hearts of Iron, Champinship Manager/Football Manager style games, and of course MMPOG’s.

    A lot of thes games needed big amounts of storage, or the ability to constanty patch the game with fixes or new content. However modern consoles all now come with big HD’s, and thus they have the ability to do what only the PC used to be able to do.

    Add that to the fact you are developing for a SET hardward config & don’t have to worry about & support an endless posibility of equipment making up a PC, you can understand why many Studios have headed over to the console markets.

    I don’t see the PC games market dying anytime soon, but it will keep declining.

    And I have a feeling that many of the hardware manufacturers see a future where you will have one bit of kit that lets you seff the web, play movies & music, plus play the state of the art games.

    The current lot of consoles are the 1st step in this direction. In the case of Microsoft, I think they forsee the future of the PC as being for buisnesses, and their console (X360 or its future replacement), being you sole home entertainment system.

  2. Comment by Toto | 09/11/08 at 11:30 am

    Good post mwhitman

  3. Comment by JWilly | 09/14/08 at 8:45 pm

    That won’t happen. It’s too risky for MS. They’ll do what they have to do to encourage continued market diversity…even if users were willing to go along with the concept in the first place.

    A homes-have-only-consoles world would be substantially content driven, since hardware diversity would be mostly limited to a few commercial closed designs. Content often would be specific to one flavor of hardware, and that content might be coming from a company not controlled by MS. If a radical-paradigm-shifting content type came along, and it was specific to non-MS-compatible hardware, and all of MS’s home products ran on MS consoles, MS could rapidly find itself a loser in the home information-processing hardware marketplace. That’s far too big a risk to MS as a whole, for them to allow the console marketers to pursue any such marketing idea very far.

    That’s not to say, of course, that they’ll offer a PC version of every game they offer on consoles. Individual content titles have individual marketing situations.

    I expect MS to continue to de facto encourage open hardware into the future, though. It’s the conservative course for most MS divisions.

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