Project Spark is going free

Project Spark

Microsoft's Project Spark lets you make and share games, short animated films, levels etc etc for Xbox platforms and Windows 8, and until now it's been supported by micro-transactions that ask you to shell out for the constituent elements. I said 'until now', because Microsoft has just announced that all of the various DLC will soon be free. It's also lifting restrictions on terrain and in-game props, and adding a load of new assets to the creation tool.

"On October 5," Microsoft says, "Project Spark will transition from its microtransaction model to a free and open creation engine. This will automatically unlock previously paid downloadable content for new and existing Project Spark users. Microsoft will pivot from producing DLC and active feature development to encouraging more user generated content and opening the Project Spark experience.

'Pivot'. Also, 'active feature development'—it sounds like Microsoft is quietly putting Project Spark out to pasture. Here's a bit more, which will be of interest if you've previously shelled out for any DLC.

"In light of these changes to a fully free model, all players who have purchased Project Spark digital content on or after July 28, 2015, purchased and activated retail discs on or after July 28, 2015 or have a remainder balance of purchased in-game tokens will be entitled to Microsoft Store credit equivalent to their money spent. Microsoft Store credits will be awarded to all users within 30-60 days after October 5."

Project Spark briefly brought Rare's Conker back from the grave, whether you wanted it to or not. Here's the trailer heralding his scatological adventures:

Microsoft says it will "no longer create episodic adventures" for Project Spark, "including future Conker’s Big Reunion episodic content". So that's the end of him.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.