Xbox President Discusses Closure of Bethesda Studios, Emphasizes Importance of Long-Term Business Health

bethesda xbox president sarah bond closures tango gameworks arkane austin redfall hi-fi rush

Earlier this week, Xbox closed four Bethesda studios, including Redfall developer Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, the team behind last year’s Hi-Fi Rush. While each of the four studios affected, which also included Mighty Doom developer Alpha Dog Games and Bethesda support studio Roundhouse Games, released a statement about the closures, Xbox remained silent. 

However, four days later, Bloomberg’s Dina Bass interviewed Xbox president Sarah Bond and asked her about the Bethesda closures, to which Bond cited a desire to keep the Xbox business healthy in the long term, even through hard transition periods. 

Here’s what Bond said: 

“It’s always extraordinarily hard when you have to make decisions like that. I’ll go back to what I was saying about the industry, and when we look at those fundamental trends, we feel a deep responsibility to ensure that the games we make, the devices we build, the services that we offer are there through moments, even when the industry isn’t growing and when you’re through a time of transition. And the news we announced earlier this week is an outcome of that and our commitment to make sure that the business is healthy for the long term. 

“With that said, our commitment to having our own studios and working with partners to have games large and small – we’re a platform where you can play [Grand Theft Auto], but you can also play Palworld, or you can play Call of Duty or you can play Pentiment, that doesn’t change. And frankly, our commitment to Bethesda and the role that it plays is a part of Xbox and everything we do. 

“It’s actually been pretty fantastic. I don’t know if you’ve gotten a chance to check it out. The Fallout TV show was on Amazon, and it’s been great to see people fall in love with that universe but also what it’s done for the games themselves, and people going back and exploring everything inside of that. There are some other great things that are coming from our studios later this year. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle – I was a big Indy fan growing up – so you should check that out. But really right now, for us and our teams, our focus is on the people impacted and doing everything that we can do to help them through this hard transition.”

Bass then asked Bond specifically about the closure of Tango Gameworks after Hi-Fi Rush, which by Xbox’s own admitted metrics, was a big success. Bond’s answer here was less straightforward – you can read it below in full: 

“One of the things I really love about the games industry is it’s a creative art form, and it means that the situation and what successes for each game and studio is also really unique. There’s no one-size-fits-all to it for us. And so we look at each studio, each game team, and we look at a whole variety of factors when we’re faced with making decisions and trade-offs like that. But it all comes back to our long-term commitment to the games we create, the devices we build, the services, and ensuring we’re setting ourselves up to be able to deliver on those promises.”

While it’s great that Bond addressed these closures at Xbox, it still lacks the clarity you’d expect from one of the biggest companies in the games industry. Neither Microsoft nor Xbox, including Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, has yet to address the layoffs and closures in an official capacity beyond this.

For more, read about how Redfall was reportedly set to receive a big offline play update this month before Xbox shut down Arkane Austin, and then read about how Xbox is reportedly considering bringing Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II to PlayStation 5. After that, check out this story about how more job cuts at Xbox are reportedly on the way, and then read about how the company is debating putting Call of Duty on Xbox Game Pass alongside a price hike

What do you think of Bond’s answers? Let us know in the comments below!

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