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Microsoft opens new London studio (for Windows 8 tablets)


Microsoft is opening a new studio in London, the company has announced. The studio will be lead by Lee Schuneman, formerly production director at Rare. The studio's focus "will be to develop a long-term business with Entertainment as a Service at its core," specifically in regard to Windows 8 tablets.

Of course, Windows 8 tablets play into Microsoft's overall video game strategy as well, especially with its SmartGlass functionality. Set to debut later this year, the tech will tie mobile devices together with Xbox games, allowing for oh-so-trendy "second screen" experiences. SmartGlass itself isn't mentioned in Microsoft's announcement, though Schuneman did state his excitement to be working on Windows 8 tablets "and platforms," so it's at least a possibility.

The new studio will open this November, initially located in Microsoft Studios' Great Pulteney Street offices.

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MEDIA ALERT: Microsoft London Studio Head Announcement

Microsoft Studios is pleased to announce the formation of a new London-based studio, headed by Rare Ltd's former Production Director, Lee Schuneman.

Reporting into Phil Harrison, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business (EMEA), the new studio's remit will be to develop a long-term business with Entertainment as a Service at its core, with a focus on Windows 8 tablet devices as the underlying technology and platforms as part of Microsoft Studios' continued expansion across the region.

Lee Schuneman brings a a unique mix of creative, production and strategic business leadership to the new outfit, which will join Rare Ltd, Lionhead and Soho Productions in Microsoft Studios' stable of UK-based operations. Lee has helmed a number of highly successful projects across the Microsoft Studios EMEA network, including Kinect Sports (Seasons 1 and 2), creation of Xbox360 Avatars, Fable: The Journey and the Sky TV app.

'I'm hugely excited by this new venture,' comments Lee Schuneman on his new appointment. 'Adding a fourth UK-based studio to the incredible roster of talent already in place across Rare Ltd, Soho Productions and Lionhead not only increases our in-region studio presence, but will allow Microsoft Studios to explore the many creative and business opportunities that developing new games and entertainment experiences on Windows 8 tablet devices and platforms will afford.'

A recruitment drive for the as yet unnamed new studio is currently underway. The new outfit will initially be based at Microsoft Studios' Great Pulteney Street premises in London and will commence operations in November.

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