XSN Sports is a defunct Microsoft Game Studios brand focusing on sports games that also featured an online game matching service that allowed players to set up private leagues and tournaments for titles in their lineup.
Game matching service
In XSN Sports branded games, players would simply supply the league or tournament name and password, which then would automatically record the game result along with team stats. These stats were then updated on the XSN Sports website within 30 minutes after the game was completed. Even the game setup ran through XSN Sports, which allowed for the same settings for all league or tournament games.
XSN Sports was announced at Microsoft's E3 2003 press conference with Peyton Manning in May 2003. The brand was officially launched on August 28, 2003 alongside the first game in their line up - NFL Fever 2004.
Microsoft announced on March 29, 2004 that the sports division would not be releasing games that year, citing quality issues. With Shane Kim taking over in 2004, the decision was made to stop investing in sports games with two strong competitors on the market (EA Sports and 2K Sports) and to focus their resources elsewhere.
On August 20, 2004 Microsoft closed down their internal sports studio, resulting in the layoff of 76 employees. Although the Salt Lake Studio was not affected at the time, just a few months later they were sold to 2K Games in October 2004.
In early September 2006, the XSN website was replaced with the following text:
|“||We’ve had a great ride together on the XSN Sports train, but the time has come to turn out the lights on this website.
Thank you very much for your support over the years. Look to Xbox Live for your future sports game matchups.
This Site to Shut Down September 15th, 2006 at 12noon Pacific Time
Two weeks later, the XSN Sports website was permanently shut down on September 15, 2006.
Games in XSN Sports lineup
- Amped 2 — Snowboarding
- Links 2004 — Golf
- NBA Inside Drive 2004 — Basketball
- NFL Fever 2004 — Football
- NHL Rivals 2004 — Hockey
- Rallisport Challenge 2 — Rallying
- Top Spin — Tennis
- The team creation option in NFL Fever 2004 allowed a player to make a team called the South Park Cows, which is most likely a reference to the Comedy Central hit show, South Park.
- "Microsoft Ushers in a New Era of Sports Video Gaming With XSN Sports". Microsoft Game Studios. 2003-08-28. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Adams, David (2004-08-20). "Microsoft Closes Sports Division". IGN Sports. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Adams, David (2004-12-17). "Take-Two Picks Up Amped Team". IGN Sports. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Official XSN Sports website — (no longer exists as of September 15, 2006)
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