Microsoft Closes Victoria Studio

Microsoft Closes Victoria Studio

Microsoft Victoria

Less than two years after it opened, Microsoft's studio in Victoria, British Columbia has been closed down.

Microsoft opened a small game studio in Victoria, BC, in early 2012, choosing the location for its relative nearness to the company's headquarters in Richmond, Washington, and also for its "livability," which was expected to attract top-quality employees. But yesterday it confirmed that the studio has been closed down.

"This was not an easy decision, but one guided by our desire to centralize development in our Vancouver studios," Microsoft told the Times Colonist. "We are working closely with all employees affected by this change to identify open positions in other studios, and we remain committed to doing business in British Columbia."

Vancouver is better known as a game development hot-spot, although it's had its share of troubles in recent times too, but TinyMob Games CEO Alex Mendelev said Victoria has a "pretty thriving industry" as well. "I'm sure these guys will find jobs in one of the other 18 companies [in the city]," he said. "They are a very talented bunch of guys, and my understanding is many of them have multiple offers on the table right now. I don't think they will have any trouble finding work in town."

What Microsoft Victoria was working on at the time of its closure wasn't revealed, and the studio's entry on the Microsoft Career site says only that it was "taking it to the next level... creating the most immersive, arresting and interactive games the world has ever seen. And we're not slowing down anytime soon. Get on board now to be there when we blow the roof off."

This is probably not the sort of roof-blowing they had in mind, but it's comforting to know (or at least hope with good cause) that most or all employees at the studio will land softly. The report said that at least 30 people were put out of work by the closure.

Source: Victoria Times Colonist

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Microsoft, centralized development is not always good.
It's one of the chief reasons your console was supposed to be always online, doesn't properly support PAL refresh rates, and only has TV integration with US cable channels.

If you had input from people living outside of Redmond I bet these issues would have at least been raised.

Microsoft said just this week that they are "doing everything they can to meet demand". If demand is in decline, it makes sense for them to start terminations. They're simply doing so based on seniority, I'd guess.

Weaver:
Microsoft, centralized development is not always good.
It's one of the chief reasons your console was supposed to be always online, doesn't properly support PAL refresh rates, and is only has TV integration with US cable channels.

If you had input from people living outside of Redmond I bet these issues would have at least been raised.

Customer support has never been Microsoft's thing. Besides, I'd tackle paying a subscription service to play online and receive adverts, first before making sure I can play it in anywhere but the USA.

Evil Smurf:

Weaver:
Microsoft, centralized development is not always good.
It's one of the chief reasons your console was supposed to be always online, doesn't properly support PAL refresh rates, and is only has TV integration with US cable channels.

If you had input from people living outside of Redmond I bet these issues would have at least been raised.

Customer support has never been Microsoft's thing. Besides, I'd tackle paying a subscription service to play online and receive adverts, first before making sure I can play it in anywhere but the USA.

I don't think you understood my point, or I'm not understanding yours;
They develop in what I call the "Redmond Bubble". I've done interviews on the Redmond campus for several development positions in Microsoft and the environment is so isolated from the rest of the world it's almost scary. They have their own campus streets, their own shuttle service, their own buses running to and from Seattle, their own car share, their own bike share; they even have a select few hotels for the candidates to stay at with massive Microsoft plaques in the lobby.

Quite famously in the tech industry, Microsoft only develops its care products at Redmond, in the Redmond campus. The Victoria studio being, to my knowledge, the only exception to the rule.

They have segregated themselves from the world, more or less.
My argument is that such isolation leads to collective group think. Of course always online is fine, everyone they know has great internet as Redmond is a technology hotspot with great high speed coverage and offerings. Of course no one though about PAL, because in Redmond PAL does no exist. Of course it only works with US cable channels, because everyone on the team only knows US cable channels, and everyone they interact with daily are limited to that bubble.

Google, on the other hand, has development offices spread out all over the world.
I'm really just arguing against centralizing all development. I don't think I have a point :P

Weaver:

Evil Smurf:

Weaver:
Microsoft, centralized development is not always good.
It's one of the chief reasons your console was supposed to be always online, doesn't properly support PAL refresh rates, and is only has TV integration with US cable channels.

If you had input from people living outside of Redmond I bet these issues would have at least been raised.

Customer support has never been Microsoft's thing. Besides, I'd tackle paying a subscription service to play online and receive adverts, first before making sure I can play it in anywhere but the USA.

I don't think you understood my point, or I'm not understanding yours;
They develop in what I call the "Redmond Bubble". I've done interviews on the Redmond campus for several development positions in Microsoft and the environment is so isolated from the rest of the world it's almost scary. They have their own campus streets, their own shuttle service, their own buses running to and from Seattle, their own car share, their own bike share; they even have a select few hotels for the candidates to stay at with massive Microsoft plaques in the lobby.

Quite famously in the tech industry, Microsoft only develops its care products at Redmond, in the Redmond campus. The Victoria studio being, to my knowledge, the only exception to the rule.

They have segregated themselves from the world, more or less.
My argument is that such isolation leads to collective group think. Of course always online is fine, everyone they know has great internet as Redmond is a technology hotspot with great high speed coverage and offerings. Of course no one though about PAL, because in Redmond PAL does no exist. Of course it only works with US cable channels, because everyone on the team only knows US cable channels, and everyone they interact with daily are limited to that bubble.

Google, on the other hand, has development offices spread out all over the world.
I'm really just arguing against centralizing all development. I don't think I have a point :P

I understood what you said, I just don't think that closing down a studio and centralising to NA is Microsoft's biggest problem.

Weaver:

Evil Smurf:

Weaver:
Microsoft, centralized development is not always good.
It's one of the chief reasons your console was supposed to be always online, doesn't properly support PAL refresh rates, and is only has TV integration with US cable channels.

If you had input from people living outside of Redmond I bet these issues would have at least been raised.

Customer support has never been Microsoft's thing. Besides, I'd tackle paying a subscription service to play online and receive adverts, first before making sure I can play it in anywhere but the USA.

I don't think you understood my point, or I'm not understanding yours;
They develop in what I call the "Redmond Bubble". I've done interviews on the Redmond campus for several development positions in Microsoft and the environment is so isolated from the rest of the world it's almost scary. They have their own campus streets, their own shuttle service, their own buses running to and from Seattle, their own car share, their own bike share; they even have a select few hotels for the candidates to stay at with massive Microsoft plaques in the lobby.

Quite famously in the tech industry, Microsoft only develops its care products at Redmond, in the Redmond campus. The Victoria studio being, to my knowledge, the only exception to the rule.

They have segregated themselves from the world, more or less.
My argument is that such isolation leads to collective group think. Of course always online is fine, everyone they know has great internet as Redmond is a technology hotspot with great high speed coverage and offerings. Of course no one though about PAL, because in Redmond PAL does no exist. Of course it only works with US cable channels, because everyone on the team only knows US cable channels, and everyone they interact with daily are limited to that bubble.

Google, on the other hand, has development offices spread out all over the world.
I'm really just arguing against centralizing all development. I don't think I have a point :P

It's not a problem with just Microsoft, it's a problem with a lot of tech companies that are founded in the Seacouver/Puget Sound or Silicon Valley region. And how is it made worse? When someone gets tired of their work in a tech company, they decide to resign and found a new company that does the tech they want... in the same region. And mind you, if it isn't enough that the competition is brutal, these areas also boast one of the highest costs of living, which only makes survival harder for small startups. Eventually the founder of the startup gets tired of it, and guess what? They sell it to the company they were working for, cash out big, and once again work for the people they resigned from.

So, new tech companies, here's an idea: The Midwest region is HURTING for IT jobs and people with good experience right now, and many towns and cities there offer very low costs of living. Get out of these "death zones", and move out here where the opportunity and ability to grow is rife, and the perspectives are different. Places like Silicon Valley and Seacouver are setting themselves up for a situation similar to what Detroit was right before Japanese cars hit the US market...

I'm gonna go ahead and ask the same question I always ask about Walmart when I hear a dumb Walmart story:

How is it that they make money again?

Last time I heard of a Microsoft Studio in Canada they made the new Flight game and a unannounced Kinect game.
Not sure if it was the same studio or not.

So... no one knows what they were working on and they closed down just two years after opening?

Alright... I'm going to share with you a somewhat common business practices for larger coporations here in America. Did you know that retirement plans and packages can be bought and sold between companies like debt? Well, that's what happens. A lot. So, occasionally you'll see a company fund a new startup and the startup will buy all of the parent company's old retirement packages that are waiting to be claimed (because the later you claim them, the more you get).

Anyway, the retirment packages are handled by the new company until it folds... and it always folds. The packages are insured, so retirees still get some money... just from the Government instead of the company. No, this isn't some conspriacy theory droll, this is a common practice.

And this is what sounds like happened. There was always a chance that this was an honest company... but with the lack of products and projects... does it really seem likely?

Does aynone knows what those people have done? becuase google isnt helping any, they dont even have wikipedia page or website it seems.

FalloutJack:
I'm gonna go ahead and ask the same question I always ask about Walmart when I hear a dumb Walmart story:

How is it that they make money again?

Its simple. we kill batman They make money on having massive sale margins on stuff and can afford to loose some money to grab market share becuase then people have no choice but to buy there later.
I mean once i moved i stopped going to my favorite shop. Why? because im not going across half of capital city just to buy milk.

Strazdas:
Does aynone knows what those people have done? becuase google isnt helping any, they dont even have wikipedia page or website it seems.

Yeah, I went looking too, just to make sure I wasn't slandering an actually productive company. Couldn't find anything. Not even the Escapist has any other news besides this article. For all we know, anything shadey Microsoft needed doing was taken care of in the short time this dummy company was in business.

I'm still maintaining that this company was meant to make retirement packages go away, as well as bury unscrupulous projects; as well as anything else that needed an easy solution.

 

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