Microsoft to can Age of Empires maker

Gamespot.com revealed today that Microsoft plans to shutdown its Ensemble Studios. Speculations were raised after Microsoft had fired much of the staff at Ensemble; which is currently developing Halo Wars. Gaming news sites Gamasutra , and Shacknews reported that those directly involved in the much anticipated Real-Time Strategy, would be the only ones left after today.

Microsoft had rushed to confirm this news, stating that it plans to shut down Ensemble after Halo Wars launch early next year. The Xbox 360 exclusive title is a spin-off to the immensely popular Halo franchise. Microsoft however claimed that the top management [of this studio], will form a new studio next year and continue to support and further develop the Halo Wars project.

While this move did come as a surprise, one can easily trace the origins to be revolving around Microsoft’s recent trails with its Xbox 360. The $1 billion warranty extension, and the recent price cuts (due to fact that PlayStation 3 was outselling the console for a couple of months now) had added to the woes of the software giant. While one can’t argue over the fact that Microsoft has indeed developed a strong position in the industry, it still has a lot more maturing to do, before it would be able to claim the throne.

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