Microsoft Reportedly Shuts Down Vancouver-Based Studio [UPDATE: Projects Cancelled]

Looks like Microsoft has laid off quite a few people at its Vancouver-based studio that was responsible for developing a core Kinect shooter.

Update: Microsoft has informed Kotaku that they have not shut down the studio but it has ended development on flight simulator Microsoft Flight and Project Columbia, a Kinect interactive TV project designed for children.

Although Microsoft would not comment on how many people were laid off, they say Microsoft Game Studios in Vancouver has "more projects and development in the pipeline."

Here's their official statement:

Microsoft Studios is always evaluating its portfolio of products to determine what is best for gamers, families and the company, and this decision was the result of the natural ebb and flow of our portfolio management. Many factors were considered in the difficult decision to stop development on "Microsoft Flight" and "Project Columbia," but we feel it will help us better align with our long-term goals and development plans. For "Microsoft Flight," we will continue to support the community that has embraced the title and the game will still be available to download for free at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/.

A tipster contacted Kotaku to share the news, which was reported by a Facebook page dedicated to innovation in Vancouver and confirmed by several former Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver employees on Twitter. According to the folks at Facebook group Can We Do It Here, "the entire studio at Microsoft Games Studios on 840 Cambie has been laid off. 35 people in total."

"These guys... Hella awesome <333 adopt one today!" wrote former employee Tara Mustapha, linking to a picture of the MGS staff. "This is what one wears when they get laid... Off," she posted earlier today.

"Now I can add 'casualty of the Vancouver games industry' to my list of achievements," a former employee with the Twitter handle MiaJerri wrote.

Several other Vancouver-based developers also took to Twitter to confirm the news.

This marks yet another troubling incident in the Vancouver gaming industry. Last week, Capcom laid off 20 employees from its Vancouver-based studio. Rockstar also moved its studio out of Vancouver.

I've reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update should they respond.

(Thanks, Andrew.)