One of the more intriguing things to come out Microsoft's gaming efforts in the recent years is Project Spark. It let users make their own games on Windows PCs and the Xbox One. The business model it followed was free with micro-transactions, allowing users to enhance and customise their experience. The team behind it announced it will pivot to "a free and open creation platform."
On October 5, all previously paid downloadable content (DLC) will be available for all Project Spark users both new and old. In turn, Microsoft will move from creating more features and content to pushing users to create more experiences using Project Spark.
"Project Spark's goal has always been to empower creativity. We've been an incubation engine for ideas from epic to artistic and we plan to continue doing so. Project Spark inspires and empowers over 200,000 creators who have shared tens of millions of custom objects, behaviours, and experiences. Every day we see anywhere between 300 and 400 new games being uploaded on our platform. Our support of these creators and our communications with them will continue in an open, free and collaborative environment," a post by the developers, Team Dakota reads.
All players who bought Project Spark on disc or digital content on or after July 28 or have a remainder balance of purchased in-game currency will be given Microsoft Store Credit equivalent to the money spent on in-game currency in 30 to 60 days after October 5.
More pressingly, Team Dakota has also stated that this means the end of any content related to Conker the Squirrel - a classic character created by Rare, another Microsoft-owned studio
"This also means that we will no longer create episodic adventures, including future Conker's Big Reunion episodic content. 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!" the post continues.
And while Microsoft claims it will encourage users to make content for Project Spark, one can't help but feel that with acquiring Minecraft, the company's pooling its bets on user-generated content in the Mojang-created success rather than Project Spark.