It's the end of an era, guys. Microsoft and developer 343 Industries has announced that the Xbox 360 Halo titles will be taken offline from December next year. That means online services for Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Spartan Assault, and Halo Wars will be no more.
You'll still be able to play these games after this date, I should stress, but it means the online stuff - the reason most of you still played these games if you played them at all - are going bye-bye. Halo 3, one of the greatest online multiplayer games of all time, is ending after 14 incredible years. Out of all the games being taken down, that's the one that stings the most.
This takedown also applies to the games as they run on newer consoles via backwards compatibility, as they're still technically the original Xbox 360 games and use the same servers. Master Chief Collection isn't going anywhere, of course, but it's not quite the same, is it? I don't think so, anyway.
In a post on Halo Waypoint, 343 explained that the time and energy required to keep the games online isn't worth it anymore when they consider the number of people still playing.
"Maintaining these legacy services today requires significant time and resources which directly impacts the studio's ability to support current and future projects like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite," they wrote. "Meanwhile, the month over month usage of these legacy Xbox 360 game services continues to dwindle, creating an even greater imbalance between the time and work required to maintain vs. the net impact to the overall Halo community.
"That's not to say we don't value and care about everyone who plays Halo - we absolutely do. But, as with any business, our teams must continually weigh needs against available resources (time, people, expertise, etc.) and prioritise on areas and opportunities that yield the greatest impact.
"As these games continue to age, and as improved modern replacements for many of these experiences have moved to the forefront, less and less people are investing time in the original legacy titles. Digital sales have greatly slowed and physical sales of these legacy Xbox 360 titles were halted back in 2018.
"Every cycle spent maintaining and supporting Xbox 360 legacy services is time and energy not spent on the future of Halo."
There you have it, my Halo-loving friends. At least 343 has given us a full year's notice. If you want to dust off that old 360, round up the squad, and spend a weekend smashing through Halo 3, now is the time to do it. Make it count.
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