Over 10 years after it was first released, the Xbox 360 video game console is heading to that, um, living room in the sky: Microsoft announced today that it has stopped making new Xbox 360 consoles.
“Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft,” Head of Xbox Phil Spencer notes in a post to the Xbox Wire blog. “And while we’ve had an amazing run, the realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us. Which is why we have made the decision to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. We will continue to sell existing inventory of Xbox 360 consoles, with availability varying by country.”
This is big news, though to be fair, Microsoft hoped to kill Xbox 360 before this. But with Xbox One taking off far more slowly than the PlayStation 4 which dominates the current generation of consoles, the software giant was forced to keep the 360 in-market longer than it intended.
I suspect, too, that this announcement was timed to coincide with a coming E3 announcement for a lower-cost new version of the Xbox One. The current console, while significantly reduced since its debut, is still quite expensive at $350 and up. And with the Xbox 360 currently selling in the sub-$200 range, Microsoft needs something that can fill that gap.
So we’ll see how that pans out. In the meantime, here’s how Microsoft intends to support the Xbox 360 going forward.
Xbox Live. Xbox 360 owners will continue to receive Xbox Live services for their console, Microsoft says, including online multiplayer gaming and parties, access to the apps they use today, and Games with Gold and Deals with Gold.
Xbox Live servers. The servers that support Xbox 360 services will also remain online and active, Microsoft says.
Games. Customers will continue to be able to buy over 4,000 Xbox 360 games or Xbox 360 accessories at retail and through Microsoft’s online Xbox Store, while supplies last.
Xbox 360 hardware. Xbox 360 hardware remains supported.
Backwards compatibility. Xbox One owners continue to be able to enjoy available Xbox 360 games through Xbox One Backward Compatibility at no additional cost.
Notice what’s missing from that list? Right. An end date.