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Microsoft Studios (2019: known as Xbox Game Studios) is the video game production wing for Microsoft, responsible for the development and publishing of games for the Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Games for Windows, Steam, Windows Store, and Windows Phone platforms. They were established in 2002 as Microsoft Game Studios to coincide with the already released Xbox, before being re-branded in 2011. The subsidiary had also been known as Microsoft Game Division and simply Microsoft Games before 2002. Microsoft Studios develops and publishes games in conjunction with first and third party development studios under their publishing label.”


Forza Motorsport 6 hits "End of Life" on Sept. 15

It’s that time of year again, time for Turn 10 and Microsoft to announce the “End of Life” for another Forza title. This time it’s Forza Motorsport 6, released on Xbox One in 2015 and transmogrified into the free-to-play PC release, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex a year later. 

In a kindly gesture, the game is included in August’s Games With Gold program so anyone with a Gold membership can lock it up in their library right now. There’s also an insane deal on a DLC bundle that includes all of the extra content for the game at just $5.00. The deal runs through this weekend only so grab the package while you can because the bad news is coming:

“Forza Motorsport 6 will enter “End of Life” status on September 15. This means that the game and its associated add-on content (including car packs and expansions) will no longer be available for purchase. Players who own Forza 6 before that date will still be able to download and play the game and its associated add-on content as normal but the game and add-on content will no longer be available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace.”

It’s unclear so far if Forza Motorsport 6: Apex on PC is also being removed this year. I’ll keep digging for confirmation on that one and get the proper Forza 6 added to the Watch List calendar.

Windows XP, ME, and Win7 lose online-enabled games starting July 31st

We’ve got sad news for office workers as well as gamers holding out with older Windows machines today. Microsoft announced on July 2nd that several internet-enabled games for Windows XP, Millennium, and even Windows 7 will be switched off and (apparently) rendered unplayable starting at the end of July. The news broke on the Microsoft Answers forum where moderator M. Hammer posted the following:

Hello, Microsoft Internet Games players, it is with heavy hearts that we have made the difficult decision that the following games will no longer be supported.

Internet Backgammon (Windows XP/ME, 7)
Internet Checkers (Windows XP/ME, 7)
Internet Spades (Windows XP/ME, 7)
Internet Hearts (Windows XP/ME)
Internet Reversi (Windows XP/ME)
MSN Go (Windows 7)

Microsoft Internet Games services on Windows XP and ME will end on July 31, 2019.
Microsoft Internet Games services on Windows 7 will end on January 22, 2020.

We truly appreciate all the time and passion you’ve put into Microsoft Internet Games. This has been a great community. However, the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences. 

Current players may enjoy the games until the dates above, when game services will cease, and the games listed will no longer be playable. While we’re saddened to leave this chapter behind, we continue to be committed to delivering engaging, delightful gaming experiences. We hope you’ll come with us on this journey and join the community of any of the other Microsoft casual games.

Sincerely,
The Windows Gaming Team

We’ve known for a while that Microsoft’s support of their older operating systems was coming to an end in 2020, but I don’t think anyone was thinking about the fate of Internet Reversi until this announcement. It looks like it’s time to settle those inter-office battles of backgammon… and hope your IT department has an upgrade plan in mind.
Source|ghacks.net