Every game has its day in the sun and eventually everyone who depends on online servers will face a sunset. Halo games for the Xbox 360 are reaching that point, and Microsoft announced plans to discontinue online services for the games in December 2021
In a blog post published online, Microsoft and 343 Industries explained the situation. Maintaining the technologies that enable online services in games such as Halo Reach, Halo 4, and others built for Xbox 360 take more and more time every year, reducing the resources needed to create and maintain newer games.
At the same time, due to the age of the games, fewer and fewer players participate in online competitions in the older games. So it is a double blow: more and more resources are needed for fewer and fewer benefits. Something had to give, and it’s the old games.
However, you will get a lot of warning. Microsoft said it would not shut down online servers “until” December 18, 2021. And this will affect the 360 versions of the game regardless of the platform you use to play the games. Halo 3, loaded on an Xbox One or an Xbox Series X, still uses an emulated Xbox 360 and thus the same underlying technologies. The exception is when you play the games through the Master Chief Collection. Microsoft and 343 Industries have updated the embedded games to use newer technologies supported on Xbox One and beyond.
The latest game from the bunch, Halo 4, was released in 2014, meaning Microsoft will support that game for seven years (including the coming year), and the other games even longer. To avoid unpleasant surprises, the company has removed the option to purchase the games digitally from the store.
And you can still play the games locally, through campaigns or local matchmaking servers. It’s just playing online with Microsoft’s servers that disappears. The full list of affected games is as follows:
- Halo: range
- Halo 4
- Halo 3
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
- Spartan attack
- Halo Wars
Enjoy your online time while you still can. The countdown to shutdown has already begun.