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Ensemble exec: Shutting down studio "doesn't make a lot of sense"


The game industry is still reeling from the news last month that Age of Empires creators Ensemble Studios will be shut down in a few months, thanks to a business decision by its owner Microsoft. While a number of Ensemble team members will reform and launch a new independent studio it's clear that team members still don't understand Microsoft's reasoning for Ensemble's shutdown.

Shacknews chatted with Ensemble's director of technology Dave Pottinger who openly states, "...it's Microsoft's right to decide where they wanna put their money. Personally we all disagree with the decision. " He added, "...it honestly doesn't make a lot of sense. But that's their prerogative." Pottinger says that while Microsoft supposedly has a plan to remain profitable with their game business even the huge success of their Age of Empires/Age of Mythology RTS game wasn't enough for Microsoft to keep Ensemble going. Pottinger still seems mystified at the decision, saying, "Yeah, I think we made, what, 700 million dollars total on the Age franchise"

Pottinger seems to know some plans Microsoft has for the future of the Age of Empires series but states, " ...I'm not really at liberty to discuss it. But it will carry on. It's a great franchise." He also talked about the recent revelation that Ensemble was working on a now cancelled MMO based on Bungie's Halo shooter series. Pottinger states that at one point Ensemble had about 40 people on the project but, "...the new bosses thought it wasn't the best idea anymore. It had actually been green-lit, and then it got cancelled after that."

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