Following the 18,000 layoffs Microsoft announced this morning, the tech giant has also confirmed reports that it will be closing its Xbox Entertainment Studios division within the next few months.

Though the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios will drastically reduce Microsoft's plans for original Xbox programming, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios Phil Spencer claims that a few key projects will live on. "Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like 'NFL on Xbox,' and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates," Spencer wrote in a statement to Recode.

According to Variety, it also appears likely that the Ridley Scott-produced Halo prequel Halo: Nightfall will survive the death of Xbox Entertainment Studios, both because it's quite a ways into development already and because Microsoft is currently in negotiations with Showtime to broadcast the series on premium cable alongside its Xbox debut.

Update: Microsoft has contacted us to confirm that Halo: Nightfall will continue production. You'll find the official statement below.

"... Nancy Tellem, Jordan Levin and some of the XES team will stay on and remain committed to original programming already in production like the upcoming documentary series 'Signal to Noise' whose first installment takes on the rise and fall of gaming icon Atari and of course, the upcoming game franchise series 'Halo: Nightfall,' and the 'Halo' Television Series which will continue as planned with 343 Industries. Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like 'NFL on Xbox,' and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates. Additionally, our app partnerships with world-class content providers bringing entertainment, sports and TV content to Xbox customers around the world are not impacted by this organizational change in any way and remain an important component of our Xbox strategy. "

This article was originally published on Joystiq.