“After much consideration,” Microsoft has shut down its game creator sandbox, Project Spark. Launched for Xbox One and Windows PC back in March 2014, Microsoft had big plans for the project. Now, some 18 months later, it’s been pulled from the Xbox Marketplace and the servers are set to be shut down in August.
The game stumbled at the first hurdle – the Xbox 360 version was delayed indefinitely, and official additional content was only created and supported for 12 months after launch (mind you, there were 46 content packs, thousands of assets and 16 updates offered). Project Spark started life featuring additional content sold as microtransactions, but then shifted to a free-to-play model in October 2015.
Still, Microsoft and Team Dakota explain the decision to end the game completely was a difficult one.
When “Project Spark” transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios. While this means there have been no layoffs at Microsoft, it also means it’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping “Project Spark” up and running with meaningful updates and bug fixes, so we have come to this hard decision.
If there’s any user-generated content that you’d like to keep – or any of your own creations you haven’t saved locally – you have from now until August 12th to snag it.
Thomas Gratz, community manager on Project Spark, explains:
We produced hundreds of livestreams and videos to educate and celebrate our community. In turn, our passionate fans have then gone above and beyond supporting “Project Spark” by uploading hundreds of thousands of creations and dreaming up millions of objects, behaviors, and experiences. Outside the game, they created fan sites, tutorials, forums, apps, and more! We thank everyone who has played or created anything within “Project Spark,” as it would have never existed without you.
If you spent money on a retail copy of the Project Spark Starter Kit after October 5, 2015 (and before May 13, 2016), you’ll soon receive a credit to your Microsoft account, which can be used to purchase content in the Xbox or Windows store. If you need further information, the Project Spark website has all the details.