Xbox Entertainment Studios may have some life left, after all. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has had preliminary talks with Warner Bros about possible acquisition. The deal is said to be unlikely, but it does suggest XES isn't dead completely — even if it can't stay at Microsoft. If a Warner Bros. deal did happen, THR's sources say the studio would merge with Machinima, which Warner owns a minority stake in.
Microsoft had ambitious plans for Xbox as an entertainment brand, focused largely around the Xbox One console. But then it became the underdog to Sony's 10 million-strong PlayStation 4, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer left the company (eventually trading in Clippy for Clippers). Under new CEO Satya Nadella and even newer Xbox leader Phil Spencer, Microsoft has been trimming most non-gaming aspects of the Xbox brand (unbundling Kinect, for example, reportedly doubled hardware sales). The studio's closure was announced in mid-July as part of the 18,000 or so job eliminations planned for the next year.
What's left of Xbox Entertainment Studios, in terms of projects or personnel, isn't entirely clear. When the studio's closure was first announced, Spencer noted that Ridley Scott's live-action Halo: Nightfall and Steven Spielberg's mysterious other Halo series would continue as planned under Microsoft's 343 Industries.