Microsoft Game Studios hit hard by layoffs

Among the casualties is ACES, producer of <i>Flight Simulator</i>, Microsoft's longest-running game. But the company says the game franchise will continue in one form or another.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman

While the video game industry has been far outperforming many others in the economic downturn, and has even appeared recession-proof as sales have soared, there have been a number of layoffs and studio closings.

Microsoft is shutting down ACES, one of its wholly owned studios, which produced the company's longest-running game franchise, Flight Simulator. But Microsoft said Flight Simulator will live on in one form or another. Microsoft Game Studios

Now, according to Gamasutra and VentureBeat, as part of its move to cut 5,000 jobs over the next 18 months, Microsoft has axed hundreds of positions from its game division.

The main victim was ACES, a wholly owned studio producing the venerable Flight Simulator franchise.

A Microsoft representative confirmed on Friday that ACES will be shut down but added that the company remains committed to the Flight Simulator franchise, though she would not provide details.

But while Microsoft's game division was hit hard, VentureBeat reported that its Lionhead and Rare studios--the former just published Fable II--as well as its Forza Motorsports studio were untouched.

Microsoft did not immediately confirm whether those studios are being affected by the layoffs.