Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Project Spark
Still flickering for a few months more.
Well, this is disappointing.
Back in 2014, I ranked Project Spark for the Xbox One as one of my Top 5 Moments from Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference, and it remained of interest to me as one of the main things to check out when I got an Xbox One of my own, which I was fortunate enough to receive last Christmas.
As such, it’s with sadness that I read that Microsoft has pulled the plug on the game. The game, which went on sale in March 2014 and became free for everyone to download in October 2015, can no longer be downloaded from the Xbox Store, effective immediately. In fact, I only learned about it yesterday, despite the announcement being made (perhaps fittingly) on Friday, May 13th.
Those who purchased the retail version can get a credit to their Microsoft account by following the information here, and those who already have the game can continue to upload their creations and download those of others until August 12th, 2016, when the online services will be no more and “hundreds of thousands” of creations will be wiped out, so be sure to download and save all your favorites locally (as well as your own creations, if you haven’t already).
As one of the five currently-released games I had my eyes on when I got my Xbox One, I had hoped to have a chance to review it, but with it no longer available, I’m not sure how much point there is to that. Of course, with the mega-blockbuster Minecraft having since been put in their pocket, I’m not sure Microsoft would be too concerned one way or the other.
One thing I did get to do, thankfully, is play the game on The Friday Nyteworks Stream a few weeks back. You can see the footage from that here:
While I never really got to do much with the creative side of the game, there were some neat downloads out there, as well as some silly and eye-rolling ones. For me, though, I thought that the built-in games — Conker’s Big Reunion and especially Champion’s Quest — were worth the (free) price of admission alone, and certainly worth checking out the game for.
The developers are having one last hurrah on Twitch today at 6pm EST, according to their Twitter. So if you’re interested in “a look back and a look ahead,” be sure to check it out. (One bright side to all of this: everyone who worked on Project Spark has apparently moved on to other projects at Microsoft, so no layoffs as a result of this. That’s a refreshing change!)
Meanwhile, if you do have the game, here’s some content you might be interested in checking out while you still can, with more on their YouTube channel:
R.I.P., Project Spark. You were fun while you lasted. Fingers crossed that maybe we’ll at least see the Champions return someday.
Project Spark was released for the Xbox One on March 4th, 2014 at a price of $39.99 USD, but became free to download as of October 5th, 2015.
A copy was downloaded from the Xbox Store by the reviewer.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.