Microsoft has revealed that Project Spark is going completely free.
What does this mean, exactly? Rather than be a free to play game, Microsoft is now turning the game into an incubation engine, to be used to encourage creation of games. They boast having 200,000 creators uploading 300 to 400 projects every day
This does mean the company no longer has a model to make the game profitable on its own, but it’s not all bad for the company. Project Spark remains exclusive to Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows 8 and above, so the company can still gleam some value from the product. This may be why Microsoft has not announced an end to online server support.
This also means an end to the Conker’s Big Reunion reboot, as Microsoft says they are leaving it up to fans to finish the story as they want it. If you bought content or on after July 28, or have unused in-game tokens, they will be refunded to Microsoft Store credit. Moving forward, everything in the game will be completely free.
And now, the good news for current creators. The final Project Spark Title Update, arriving on October 5, promises these features:
- The maximum terrain limit in creations has been doubled (on top of Massive World Builder)
- The maximum prop limit in creations has been increased by 500 (on top of Massive World Builder)
- 200+ new assets will be added in game, including a dragon, goblin warlord, bog biome and a set of new primitive building blocks
- Each creator will now have a total of 100 Upload Slots for their creations
- UGC ranking will be based on downloads and favorites, instead of upvote/downvote ratings
- The Project Spark Marketplace has been removed
- The Project Spark Tour and Treasure Trove have been removed
- Achievements have been revamped for players and creators
The incubation engine label brings up another association, and a possible future for the product. Down the line, Microsoft may turn Project Spark's engine into a product within itself, and compete with the likes of Unity and Unreal. Or perhaps the most fitting comparison is to Valve's own engine, Source, meaning PS could be a Windows and Xbox exclusive game engine.
Have you given Project Spark a whirl? Are you looking forward to the October 5 update? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.