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Microsoft Ditches Plan for Original Programming

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a plan to restructure the company to make it more focused going forward. Although an estimated 12,5oo of the 18,000 job cuts he announced will come from the company’s Nokia business, the restructuring is already having repercussions in other areas of the company. Specifically, Xbox.

Truth be told, Xbox had grown a little shaggy in recent years. When Microsoft first announced the Xbox One at E3 2013, it pitched it as the central hub of your living room entertainment setup. It would control your cable box, play Blu-rays, and let you watch content on your favorite streaming services. During the presentation, gaming seemed like a second thought.

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No longer. Nadella and Xbox head Phil Spencer have decided to refocus the business on gaming rather than on conquering the living room. The biggest thing they’ve done is cut Xbox Entertainment Studios, a division that was producing a number of original TV series for Xbox Live.

Some of the programs they had in the works, including two series based on the Halo franchise and a six-part documentary about technology, will continue production. The rest, which include about a dozen series either planned or in production, will be scrapped altogether as the company puts all of its Xbox focus on games.

So far, the decision seems to be working. Now that they offer a version of the Xbox One without the pricy Kinect motion sensor, sales are speeding up. At this year’s E3, Microsoft’s presentation focused on nothing but games. Microsoft has learned its lesson: gaming consoles appeal to gamers, not to non-gamers who want to watch TV.