Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft's ambitious plan to create original television content for its Xbox platform, is reportedly looking for a second life. The Hollywood Reporter says that the studio has been shopping itself around to other larger studios — like Warner Bros. — in an attempt to find a new home.
Microsoft announced in July that it was shuttering Xbox Entertainment Studios, effectively putting an end to plans to craft original, interactive TV programming for Xbox. Microsoft plans to continue production of some programming already in development, including the Signal to Noise documentary series, the Ridley Scott-produced Halo: Nightfall and the Halo television series.
According to THR sources, discussions between Xbox Entertainment Studios and Warner Bros. are preliminary and "unlikely" to result in an agreement. A proposed plan would reportedly merge Machinima, the Warner-backed channel which has distributed original programming like Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Mortal Kombat: Legacy and Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, with XES.
Microsoft formed Xbox Entertainment Studios in 2012 to develop "true interactive content" for its platforms. Studio head Nancy Tellem and Yusuf Mehdi, then-corporate VP of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, unveiled XES' plans publicly in February of the following year.
"When I worked in traditional TV, we would find ourselves saying things like ‘Wouldn't it be cool if we could add an interactive aspect directly into the show and engage directly with the viewers?'" Tellem said at the time. "With Xbox, that is possible today."
In April, Microsoft laid out its slate of in-development and proposed TV shows, which included scripted content like Halo and Humans, as well as non-scripted shows like Every Street United and Fearless. Xbox Entertainment Studios said it was exploring the possibility of content based on Xbox franchises like Gears of War, Fable, Forza and State of Decay.