updated 03:54 pm EDT, Sun August 17, 2014
Microsoft gaming properties could continue media expansion if studio deal occurs
Sources have said that Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios (XES) may not be shuttering, as previously indicated during the company's announcement of 18,000 layoffs. Microsoft has reportedly been shopping the studio around in an attempt to find it a new home, with some possible results already popping up. It is said that Microsoft has recently entered into talks with Warner Brothers about XES operating under the studio.
Talks are said to only be in the preliminary stage at this point, but under the deal Microsoft is seeking the possibility that XES runs as a "stand-alone entity at the studio." If such a deal is struck, it's said that Warner Brothers would merge XES with another gaming-centric property it invested in, Machinima, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Back in March, it was reported that Warner Brothers led an $18 million round of funding into the YouTube content network.
The trade paper added that XES and Machinima declined to comment on the talks. A spokeswoman from Warner Brothers states that the company is "constantly having preliminary discussions regarding business opportunities with numerous companies at any given time. She added that "a conversation is just that -- a conversation."
When the closure of the studios was announced in July, several products and key staff members were to remain in place. Nancy Tellem and Jordan Levin were to continue working on projects that were already in the productions phases. This included the Halo: Nightfall TV series produced by Ridley Scott, and the upcoming Halo series by 343 Industries and producer Steven Spielberg.
If the deal does happen, and XES merges with Machinima, it wouldn't be an unfamiliar working relationship. Microsoft previously worked with Machinima to distribute Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, the first liv- action series to be released in the gaming franchise. Machinima is currently more focused on partner-generated content, but with XES it could be looking at high-profile content with the properties that Microsoft would bring.