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Tango and Xbox Closures Are A Huge Mistake For The Brand

It seems like five minutes ago that Xbox didn’t have the studios to maintain its first party offerings. Now they have the benefit of closing them down.


It’s easy to be emotional over news like this. Tango Gameworks, Arkane Austin, Roundhouse Games and Alpha Dog will no longer exist. And while I’m sure there are internal things that we don’t see here, there is little that can justify studio closures outside of the obvious. It’s just cheaper to shut ’em all down.

Arkane Austin had the whole Redfall situation to recover from, while Roundhouse was a support studio (whose staff will go elsewhere) and Alpha Dog is best known for Mighty Doom. It is Tango Gameworks who will end up being the headline casualty in all of this. Their game Hi-Fi Rush was the highlight of last year for Xbox, and a success by all accounts. It was a hint that things might get better for the brand, and that Game Pass allowed creative games to flourish.

With Tango gone, it leaves more questions than answers. What is the measure of success at Xbox? Is this an issue with Game Pass? And, if nothing else, it means Microsoft have lost their presence in the Japan.

With games coming out on PlayStation and Switch, we’re once again left wondering exactly what Xbox’s priorities are in this industry. 2024 has been a terrible year for them, and somehow, once again, they have failed to get ahead of the message. They have a blockbuster game coming out within just a couple of weeks, and the conversation has once again gone away from the games and has landed on bad news.

Hellblade 2, I hope, will be as warmly received as the first. Then probably again when it ends up on PlayStation and Switch 2.

The Future of Xbox

People will point to the announcement of the Xbox One as the biggest failure in the brands history. I’d say it’s something more esoteric.

Xbox doesn’t know what it wants to be. Every time it gets one step closer to success, it trips itself up. Its games release too early, despite delays. Its services are excellent, but accessing them on PC is controversial and some would say cumbersome (I usually disagree). It announces games and then fails to release them at a sensible cadence. And when they do release them, people are too busy talking about the latest screw-up to even notice. Are the people behind Hellblade 2 happy that nobody is talking about its May 21 release date right now?

Whatever is happening behind closed doors at Microsoft, whatever power struggles are going on, a clear direction needs to be hammered out. This is nowhere near the first article I’ve written this year about the issues with the news getting ahead of Xbox’s marketing, and we now sit in wait for some new response to these closures that help make them make sense.

Because at this point the executives at Xbox must know confidence in the brand is at an all time low, and that confidence in their promises is even lower.


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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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Twitter: @matgrowcott