Rare suffers layoffs as Kinect Sports Rivals struggles

Rare suffers layoffs as Kinect Sports Rivals struggles
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

May 19th 2014 at 3:33PM

Microsoft says changes being made to "development process and methodolgy" at Twycross studio

UK developer Rare has been hits by layoffs following poor sales of its latest title, Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals.

Multiple sources told Eurogamer that several jobs were lost at the Twycross studio, though an exact number has yet to be reported.

The developer – perhaps still best known for its work on N64 titles such as Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and Banjo-Kazooie – has been dedicated to the motion-controlled Kinect Sports series over the past few years. However, the low sales of Xbox One and even lower consumer enthusiasm for the motion-sensing Kinect means that its latest title failed to meet sales expectations.

Microsoft has attributed the layoffs to a change in the "development process and methodology at Rare" – no doubt connected to the fact that Kinect, the device to which the studio has dedicated itself for years, has been removed from the Xbox One bundle, placing the camera's future into question.

"At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences," a statement from Microsoft reads. "As part of Rare's commitment to this goal, we have made a decision to change our development process and methodology at Rare to best support our future projects. This has led to us reviewing the skills and the makeup of our development teams in our business.

"Rare continues to invest in our people and future projects."

The announcement of a Kinect-less Xbox One has already triggered speculation as to what the studio will work on next, but all Microsoft has been willing to say is that both the platform holder and Rare itself are 'evaluating' what the future holds for the developer.

Other UK studios have told Develop they believe Microsoft's recent moves have "killed any chances" for them to make original Kinect games.