Microsoft announced today that it plans to shut down the Xbox 360 in 2024, an extremely disappointing move that’s bad for game preservation.
The Xbox 360 Store, also known as the Xbox Live Marketplace, has been present on Microsoft’s second game console in some form ever since it launched in 2005. In recent years, storefront shut down for older systems have become more common. The 3DS and Wii U eShops went offline in March despite player anger, while Sony planned to shut down the PS3, PSP, and PS Vita storefronts in 2021 before reversing that decision because of the backlash. Regardless, the loss of any storefront is a dour move for the video game industry, as some games are exclusively available to them and will be lost forever when the store goes offline.
An Xbox Wire post explains that the Xbox 360 store will shut down on July 29, 2024. After that date, players will no longer be able to purchase games, DLC, movies, or TV shows from the Xbox 360 Store or use the Microsoft Movies & TV app. Essentially, you won’t be able to buy new things or watch movies and TV shows on your system after July 29, 2024.
That post does say that previously purchased Xbox 360 games and DLC will still be downloadable and accessible after the store shut down and that many of the games are backward compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. Other online services for Xbox 360 will also still work on Xbox 360 after this date. Still, this is an extremely disheartening move from Microsoft, so why are they doing it? “A lot has changed since the Xbox 360 launched in 2005,” Xbox Player Services VP Dave McCarthy explained in that Xbox Wire post. “Technology has evolved, expectations from players have shifted, and we are focused on making Xbox Series X|S the best place to play now and in the future.”
The idea that “technology has evolved” and that what the Xbox 360 Store is currently using hurts user experience and safety is understandable, although the “expectations from players have shifted reason is much less convincing of an argument. I’m sure most players, like myself, would prefer to keep having the ability to buy games on Xbox 360.
If you want to buy anything on the Xbox 360 Store, you have until July 29, 2024, to do it.