We already learned how the studio behind Microsoft's venerated Flight Simulator franchise of PC game titles is pretty much shut down, resulting in nearly 1,400 jobs getting the axe in one fell swoop. That's no small number, and only the start of the total 5,000 positions Microsoft has no choice but to make redundant over the coming months. Unfortunately, VentureBeat has reason to believe that the software giant's game division is not out of the woods yet.
According to VentureBeat's sources, around 30 percent of game testing staff at Microsoft's game studios are in the process of being or have already been cut. Starting next week, the gaming division is expected to face even more restructuring, this time at management level. This has not been totally confirmed by inside sources, however. Not all cuts necessarily translate into permanent layoffs, as some fortunate staff may still find related opportunities within Microsoft.
Microsoft's game operations have frequently suffered because of the shifting priorities of the overall company. The game studios bulked up in advance of the Xbox launch in 2001, but they thinned out again as Microsoft was losing too much money in its first generation in the console business. The company staffed up again for the launch of the Xbox 360 in 2005 and now the investment priorities are changing again.
As Microsoft's gaming division waxes and wanes in line with corporate prime directives, the software giant finds itself with fewer internal developers than the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment and Nintendo. Of course, it can still count on third party developers for platform exclusives, but that doesn't necessarily beholden external studios to Microsoft. The company may not be in a position to acquire further external studios at the moment, in any case.