Top 5 Xbox Studios That Have Closed: What Went Wrong?

Top 5 Xbox Studios That Have Closed: What Went Wrong?

Over the years, Xbox has been home to some incredible game studios that have produced memorable games and experiences for gamers worldwide. However, not all studios have been able to survive the rapidly changing landscape of the gaming industry. In this article, we will take a look at the top 5 Xbox studios that have closed down and explore what went wrong.

1. Lionhead Studios

Lionhead Studios was founded in 1996 by Peter Molyneux and quickly gained a reputation for creating innovative and ambitious games. The studio is best known for the Fable series, which allowed players to make moral choices that influenced the game world and story.

Unfortunately, Lionhead Studios closed down in 2016, following the release of Fable Legends, a multiplayer spin-off of the popular series. The game was plagued by development issues and was ultimately cancelled before it could be released. This failure, along with a string of unsuccessful games from the studio, led to its closure.

2. Ensemble Studios

Ensemble Studios was a powerhouse in the real-time strategy genre, known for its highly successful Age of Empires series. The studio was founded in 1995 and gained critical acclaim for its innovative game design and attention to detail.

In 2008, Microsoft announced that Ensemble Studios would be closing down following the release of Halo Wars, the studio’s last game. While Halo Wars was moderately successful, it was not enough to keep the studio afloat. The closure of Ensemble Studios was a sad day for fans of the Age of Empires series and the RTS genre as a whole.

3. Press Play

Press Play was a Danish game development studio that was acquired by Microsoft in 2012. The studio gained recognition for its charming and creative games such as Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba.

In 2016, Microsoft announced that Press Play would be shut down, along with another studio called Lionhead. The closure of Press Play was met with disappointment from fans and critics alike, who enjoyed the studio’s unique approach to game design. The reasons for the closure were not publicly disclosed, but it is likely that financial considerations played a role.

4. Twisted Pixel Games

Twisted Pixel Games was a Texas-based game development studio known for its quirky and humorous games such as ‘Splosion Man and The Maw. The studio was founded in 2006 and quickly gained a following for its distinctive art style and gameplay mechanics.

In 2015, Twisted Pixel Games announced that it would be leaving Microsoft and becoming an independent studio once again. The decision to split from Microsoft was likely a result of creative differences and a desire for more autonomy. While Twisted Pixel Games continues to develop games independently, their time as an Xbox studio has come to an end.

5. BigPark Studios

BigPark Studios was a Canadian game development studio that was acquired by Microsoft in 2009. The studio worked on projects such as Kinect Joy Ride and Joy Ride Turbo, which were designed to showcase the capabilities of the Kinect motion controller.

In 2012, Microsoft announced that BigPark Studios would be merged with another studio called LocoCycle, effectively closing down the studio. The decision to merge the two studios was likely a cost-saving measure, as the Kinect platform was not as successful as Microsoft had hoped. The closure of BigPark Studios marked the end of an era for Xbox developers who were at the forefront of motion-controlled gaming.


While the closure of these Xbox studios may be disappointing for fans and developers alike, it is important to remember that the gaming industry is constantly evolving. Studios must adapt to changing trends and technologies in order to survive and thrive. As we bid farewell to these once-great studios, we can look forward to new and innovative developers emerging in the future, keeping the world of gaming fresh and exciting for years to come.

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