Microsoft Studios is opening a new division to shore up support for its upcoming Windows 8 tablets, and has appointed Rare Ltd. veteran Lee Schuneman to head the new London team.
The group will focus on developing a long-term business around an "Entertainment as a Service" core, which could refer to free-to-play games or applications that are frequently updated with new content long after their launch.
Windows 8 tablets, including Microsoft's upcoming Surface line, will face well-entrenched competition -- Apple's iPad and Amazon's Kindle notably -- when they begin to roll out next month, and will have to try to match against the already robust app store catalogs of their rivals.
Schuneman, who was production director at Microsoft Studios subsidiary Rare before heading the new unnamed team, has previously worked on projects like Kinect Sports (Seasons 1 and 2), Fable: The Journey, and Xbox 360's avatars.
The new studio -- Microsoft's fourth in the UK, adding to Rare, Soho Productions and Lionhead -- is currently recruiting and will begin operations in November.