Project Spark, a sandbox-styled game creation toolkit for the Xbox One and PCs, is giving up its microtransaction-based revenue model next month as Microsoft shifts its focus to providing “a free and open creation engine.”
Starting in October, all creative elements in Project Spark will be available for free to all players, and creators who previously purchased in-game content may be eligible for a refund.
Released in 2014, Project Spark allows players to create 3D environments and design simple gameplay objectives using a suite of creative tools. The game saw multiple content-expanding updates in the months after its launch, including a series of episodes featuring Conker, the star of Rare’s classic Nintendo 64 platformer Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
Title Update 16 for Project Spark will remove the in-game Marketplace feature and will make all previously released content available free of charge for new and returning players.
“Project Spark‘s goal has always been to empower creativity,” Microsoft’s product engagement director Rahul Sandil stated. “We’ve been an incubation engine for ideas from epic to artistic and we plan to continue doing so.”
Sandil continued: “Project Spark inspires and empowers over 200,000 creators who have shared tens of millions of custom objects, behaviors and experiences. Every day we see anywhere between 300 and 400 new games being uploaded on our platform. Our support of these creators and our communications with them will continue in an open, free and collaborative environment.”
Players who purchased Project Spark tokens, credits, and in-game content after July 28, 2015, will receive refunds in the form of Microsoft Store credit. Players who purchased retail copies of Project Spark are also eligible for a full refund via Microsoft.
Project Spark will convert to a “free incubation engine” on October 5. The update will also introduce over 200 pre-designed characters and assets for use within custom projects.