Microsoft Axes UK Inside Xbox Videos And Staff

In what has to be one of the strangest moves in videogames coverage, Microsoft has decided to axe its incredibly popular Inside Xbox service. The US service was dropped last week, with staff being shown the door. The UK version of the show, hosted most often by Dan Maher and Andy Farrant, had an uncertain future at that time.

Today it has been confirmed, via a token update to a week old post on Larry Hryb’s Major Nelson Blog, that the UK team has also been let go and the videos will cease to be made.

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There’s the facts out of the way, now here’s my opinion on the move: this is nothing short of bizarre. At a time when the rest of the videogames covering media sees how blindingly obvious it is that the future lies not in corporate regurgitation and faceless news-peppering but in character and personality, Microsoft sheds the only bit of personality it has in the UK.

Not only is the company cutting one of the most likeable broadcast teams outside of Giant Bomb, they chose to announce the news – after a morning meeting with the team and a sanction of silence through today – via their corporate cheerleader in the United States. Quietly and with plenty of meaningless business speak to fill it out:

[Microsoft has] decided to move away from the current first-party produced content model and transition to a third-party content model, which will provide timely and locally-relevant content to users across more of the EMEA markets.

Whilst this means that the Inside Xbox brand will effectively be retired in Europe, the focus remains on continuing to provide the Xbox LIVE community with the latest and best in games and entertainment news and information

We’re sure that the guys who worked on the engaging, friendly Inside Xbox videos will land squarely on their feet – they’re too good at what they do to fail – but the loss of the service is going to be a big blow to the legions of fans who, despite Microsoft’s latest dashboard interface, managed to find and enjoy the videos.

There is, at least, some degree of logic to the US dashboard losing its Inside Xbox videos – Microsoft is extending media deals with people like Spike TV to provide the kind of fast-cut overproduced nonsense that they put out. And Major Nelson will probably still pop up to interview people and introduce videos from big shows as and when required.

Sorry, did I say “losing its Inside Xbox videos”? I meant “transitioning from a first party content model to a third party media partnership” or something.

The UK and Europe doesn’t have Spike TV or any real concerted, popular, mainstream video media coverage of videogames (at least in the UK). Even our 360 dashboard industry event videos were hosted by the peerless team at Inside Xbox. So what’s the best we can hope for? Probably more IGN partnership videos and Lynx adverts. Brilliant.

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31 Comments

  1. Yeah, Microsoft seem to be doing plenty of stuff wrong just now. The most disappointing thing is that Dan and Co weren’t allowed to say anything until MN updated his days old blog with that little addendum.

    Not a big fan of what they’re doing just now, at all.

    • Just wait ’till E3…can’t imagine it’ll be any better.

  2. Lame….

  3. So instead of having a cheap series of videos, MS have decided to go with paying a lot of cash for exclusive videos from Spike. Plus, that is a dick move by MS to not inform them and only allow their US based mascot to inform them.

    I wonder if the inside xbox guys will set up their own show on another platform?

    I think i can see Sony hiring them to give PS access some compition to avoid it becoming stale. As well as ninty. Imo. :)

    At least there will be more space for the go compare ads. Yay! *sarcasm*

  4. transitioning to ads no doubt.

    honestly, at this rate, i wouldn’t be surprised if the next xbox didn’t even play games.

    • Will be an awesome ad machine, no?

      • i can see the next xbox with kinect end up like those senso tape things from the hitchhikers guide books.
        where they show an add and a voice says” let us all bow our heads in payment”.
        and if you nod you’ve bought something.

  5. its all about the money, money, money…its all about the…..

    • I’m sorry, it’s just not the same without the swivelly chair. :)

  6. Meanwhile at Sony… SCEE already do this with Future Publishing. I’m not really surprised by Microsoft’s move.

    • Access TV is a different thing though – it’s a packaged magazine show. Inside Xbox was a much more friendly, approachable video blog-style thing.
      But your core point is a solid one – 3rd party partnerships aren’t uncommon and this news is not surprising, unfortunately.

      • I do prefer the friendlier approach, I miss the YouTube show “noobtube”. One good thing to come out of this is no one will care if the 3rd party one is rubbish and/or canned. A la Playstation First.

    • It’s perhaps worth arguing that Inside Xbox was a little stronger than Sony’s efforts.

      • Agreed.

      • the new show Sony do is great.

      • Access has come on leaps and bounds since it launched, it was cringe worthy for episode 001. They do a very good job of making me want to play exciting new games.

  7. Damn, the one good video games show out there and they axe it. Silly Microsoft

  8. One of the most lamest moves Microsoft could ever make.

  9. Microsoft really know how to piss their users off. It makes me sad.

  10. As a loyal Xbox owner for some 5 years or something I’m disgusted by this! I loved insideXbox and the personality it gave, now it just feels like I have an add machine infront of me, soon they’ll take the games away as well.

    With the moves Microsoft have made this year I may go back to Sony next gen.

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