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Microsoft Ends Project Spark Support

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The digital canvas Project Spark is a popular tool used for making games, movies and other experiences for use on the Microsoft Windows 8.1, 10 and Xbox One platforms. The players can also download the other user-created content and even remix it to create their own content. These can be created using not only an Xbox controller, but also a keyboard & mouse, any compatible touch device or Kinect to build their desired experiences.

Screenshot from the Project Spark beta, showing the terrain creation.

With the use of Kinect, players and developers can animate their models and even record audio to be used for the experience. The environments can contain mountains, rivers and towns as well as being able to create events and items or objects. The players are given with the choice of being able to start from a blank canvas or a more pre-designed level, and can add a huge number of additional things such as plants, animal life and program behaviors for specific objects. Below is a launch trailer of a game version created using Project Spark.

However, a recent development from the Project Spark team has announced that the downloadable feature will no longer be available as of Friday 13, 2016. Thomas Gratz, Community Manager had this to say on the official Project Spark forum.

After much consideration, Microsoft and Team Dakota have decided to discontinue support for “Project Spark.”

Starting 5/13/16, “Project Spark” will no longer be available for download on the Xbox Marketplace or Windows Store. For existing users of “Project Spark,” online services will be unavailable after 8/12/16. Without services, players will no longer be able to download user-generated content or upload their own creations. If you want to access user-generated content offline, you will need to download this content prior to 8/12/16. Be sure to download your favorite community creations and your own uploads if they are not saved locally. We’re also aware that after transitioning “Project Spark” to be a free incubation engine last fall, that some players might still have purchased the game at retail, and have outlined steps about obtaining a credit for those players below.

This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly. When “Project Spark” transitioned away from active development last fall, many of our team members moved to other projects within Microsoft Studios. While this means there have been no layoffs at Microsoft, it also means it’s simply no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping “Project Spark” up and running with meaningful updates and bug fixes, so we have come to this hard decision.

Despite this news, we want to celebrate the accomplishments of our team and community of creators and players. Our team released 46 content packs, thousands of assets and 16 updates since launch (averaging more than one update every two months). We produced hundreds of livestreams and videos to educate and celebrate our community. In turn, our passionate fans have then gone above and beyond supporting “Project Spark” by uploading hundreds of thousands of creations and dreaming up millions of objects, behaviors, and experiences. Outside the game, they created fan sites, tutorials, forums, apps, and more! We thank everyone who has played or created anything within “Project Spark,” as it would have never existed without you.

As mentioned earlier, for players who purchased and redeemed the “Project Spark Starter Kit” sold in retail outlets will receive a credit to their Microsoft account. If you purchased and redeemed the code inside a retail copy of “Project Spark” after Oct. 5, 2015 and before today, you will receive a credit that can be used to purchase content in the Xbox or Windows store. Credits will be granted automatically to eligible customers. For more information, please visit http://xbox.com/spark.

We can’t thank our creators and players enough. It’s been an incredible journey to share with you all!

Of course, this comes as a bit of a shock to us all however as all things must, it has come to an end. So, let us know down below if you ever used the feature and what was your favourite thing about it? Perhaps you never got a chance to use it and you always wanted to? We’d love to hear from you!

Luke