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Microsoft lays off employees at Vancouver studio

Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia teams let go in latest round of redundancies to hit Vancouver dev scene

Microsoft has apparently laid off 35 people at its Vancouver studio, ending development of Microsoft Flight and the Kinect interactive TV game, Project Columbia.

An anonymous source contacted Kotaku with the news that entire studio located at 840 Cambie St. had been closed and the project cancelled.

This was also posted on a Facebook page for Vancouver innovators, though Microsoft has since released a statement indicating that an unspecified number, though not all, of the studio's employees had been made redundant. All of the job losses were from the teams on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, an interactive TV project aimed at children.

"Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management," the statement read.

"Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans."

This is yet another instance of a Vancouver-based studio shedding employees or closing entirely in recent months, including Radical Entertainment, Capcom Vancouver and Rockstar Vancouver.

In Rockstar's case, the employees were moved to its Toronto studio, where the tax breaks from the Ontario government are far more generous - 37.5 per cent versus Vancouver's 17.5 per cent.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.