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Microsoft is killing off its Project Spark game creation tool

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Microsoft's ambitious Project Spark game creation tool is coming to an end in August. The software maker has removed Project Spark from the Xbox Marketplace and Windows Store, and existing users of the tool will not be able to use it from August 12th. "This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly," says Thomas Gratz, Microsoft's Project Spark community manager. "When Project Spark transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios."

While Microsoft hasn't made any layoffs related to Project Spark, the company says it's "no longer feasible" to keep Project Spark up and running with updates and bug fixes. Microsoft had big ambitions for Project Spark, using it as a tool to let developers, enthusiasts, and gamers build a game within a game that runs across PCs, tablets, and Xbox consoles. Players could build custom worlds, characters, and animations from the Xbox One, and continue editing or playing them on a Windows PC. It's similar in concept to Sony's LittleBigPlanet, but Microsoft's effort clearly wasn't popular enough. Microsoft will be offering credits to players who purchased and redeemed the Project Spark Starter Kit sold in retail stores.