It's been a wild few years over at Team Xbox, with the brand being marked by vast change since the launch of Xbox Series X and S back in late 2020 - which is starting to feel like a lifetime ago now. Huge acquisitions like that of both Bethesda and Activision Blizzard have massively changed how the team now operates, and in fact, after today's news those changes are looking more and more drastic by the day.

Whichever way you slice it, Xbox is changing, and recent restructuring efforts on the leadership team further enhance that feeling. 'Microsoft Gaming' looks like the end goal nowadays, with Xbox as a brand feeling like it's taking a bit of a back seat to the 'bigger picture' over at Microsoft. But, what does that really mean? And should we be bothered if Microsoft Gaming becomes the new 'Xbox'?

Truth be told, only internally does Microsoft really know where it's going with its newly-heavyweight gaming train. What it looks like from the outside is the company gobbling up as much IP as it possibly can to remain competitive in the market - a market it's now changing by bringing games to other platforms and getting a hefty cut while doing so. Having big franchises and making as much money as possible is hardly a new concept here, but the news of more and more layoffs and studio closures makes Microsoft's gaming efforts feel like 'profit at whatever cost' these days.

Phil Spencer has been the face of Xbox for over a decade now, and he's done plenty of good for the platform after a dismal period under Don Mattrick's leadership. Arguably, Microsoft might not even be in the gaming space right now if it wasn't for Phil's vision for Xbox. However, that vision once felt like it brought smaller studios along for the ride, especially with the advent of Xbox Game Pass, but it's getting harder and harder to see that vision in a post-Activision Blizzard landscape. After a period of huge growth, Xbox looks like it's trimming the fat from its newfound acquisitions, and from its gaming plans in general.

If more bombshells continue to drop like the one that landed today, we're going to have to get used to a different Xbox - a different Microsoft Gaming. The team now has Call of Duty, DOOM, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, Halo, Gears of War, Forza, World of Warcraft and even more huge IP under its belt, and those are clearly beginning to take precedent at Microsoft HQ. We're in a tough economic landscape at the moment — not only in gaming — and the safe bets are the ones being taken right now.

And, as much as we lament Xbox for closing down some of its smaller teams and projects, we still think there's a big future for Xbox - or Microsoft Gaming, whichever you want to call it. A few years into Phil's reign and we were still talking about the 'Halo / Gears / Forza box', and even with some of these unfortunate closures, Xbox is much, much more than that nowadays. We're still really, really excited about Xbox's upcoming pipeline of games, but some studios are starting to suffer from Microsoft's drive for massive gaming growth.

There's a lot of negative feelings surrounding today's announcement - heck, we're angry too even if we've simmered down a little bit since the news first broke. Tango Gameworks is an absolutely huge loss for the Xbox portfolio, but, if we're honest Redfall was an absolute disaster even if Arkane Austin could have been afforded another roll of the dice, and two Bethesda 'support' studios going away starts to make some sense when you think about Microsoft Gaming continuing to expand. That's the price you pay for massive growth, we suppose.

One thing we will have a bit of a moan about whilst we're here is the way Xbox has handled this, yet again. At the time of writing we've heard nothing public from the team, with Matt Booty's internal email being the only real primary source of information at the moment. We're hoping Phil, or someone else high-up at Xbox, comes out and clarifies the situation soon - we'd still like to hear the Xbox boss's take on the news and its reaction from the Xbox community.

In the meantime, we really do hope news relating to industry layoffs and studio closures dies down, and of course, we want all of the individual developers affected by this most recent news to gracefully land on their feet. They all deserve more than finding out about job losses via leaked internal emails, whether these cuts were the inevitable price of growth or not.

Where do you land on all of this? Where will 'Microsoft Gaming' go next? Discuss all of today's news down below.