The Spark is gone: Microsoft scraps game-creation toolkit for Xbox, PC

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Microsoft has announced that it is ending support for its Xbox One and PC game-building app Project Spark less than three years after its initial public beta release.

Project Spark is no longer available for download from the Xbox Marketplace, and all user-created content will be deleted on August 12.

First revealed at E3 in 2013, Project Spark was a sandbox-styled creation engine in which players can build their own 3D worlds filled with interactive elements. Uniquely crafted items and minigames could be uploaded to Microsoft’s servers and shared with friends via Xbox Live.

Microsoft attempted to drum up support for Project Spark after its launch by introducing worlds and missions featuring developer Rare’s legacy franchise character Conker, but the app never earned the level of mass appeal enjoyed by similar games like Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet.

Project Spark reverted to a free-to-play model last year, but the move was evidently not enough to justify its operating costs. Microsoft notes that no layoffs will result from Project Spark‘s closure.

“This was an extremely difficult decision for our team that we do not take lightly,” Thomas Gratz, Microsoft community manager, explained. “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.”

Microsoft’s upcoming server wipe will permanently delete “hundreds of thousands” of user-created Project Spark items and worlds, according to Gratz.

“If you want to access user-generated content offline, you will need to download this content prior to 8/12/16,” Gratz warns. “Be sure to download your favorite community creations and your own uploads if they are not saved locally.”

Players who purchased the Project Spark Starter Kit at retail are eligible for a Microsoft account credit as reimbursement.

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