Microsoft has announced that it is to all-but abandon its Project Spark game creation system, which is now to become 'a free and open creation platform' with no further official updates.
Launched in beta form back in March last year
, Project Spark aimed to give gamers and hobbyists tools to create their own games for Windows and Xbox without the need to mess around with complex programming and expensive development kits. Project Spark went live with a a freemium business model, where the core system was free to download but much of its content locked behind micro-transactions and add-on downloadable content (DLC) packs like March's Conker-themed pack
It would appear that uptake has been slow, however, and Microsoft is responding by making Project Spark entirely free. 'Microsoft will pivot from producing DLC and active feature development to encouraging more user generated content and opening the Project Spark experience,
' Microsoft's Rahul Sandil explained in a statement
which reads worryingly like an official proclamation that Microsoft is to cease development on the platform altogether. 'Today’s released content packs are our last planned DLC. With a total of 46 released packs and 2,000+ assets, we feel like we’ve gotten to a good place with our content offers for creators.
Sandil's announcement also warns that further episodic releases for Conker's Big Reunion, launched as a single-player adventure alongside the Conker-themed Project Spark content pack in April this year, have been cancelled. 'This also means that we will no longer create episodic adventures, including future Conker’s Big Reunion episodic content,
' Sandil admitted. 'We’ll leave it up to you to continue his story in whatever ways you want, and we can’t wait to see what you create!
For current or future Project Spark users, all content will be made available free-of-charge; for anyone who purchased content for Project Spark on or after the 28th of July or have in-game tokens still waiting to be spent, a refund will be made in the form of Microsoft Store Credits. The next planned content update, due on the 5th of October and increasing the scope of Project Spark creations while also adding new in-game assets, is not affected.