Xbox 360 Production Ends, But Console Will Still Be Supported

The Xbox 360 has reached the end of the line, at least the production line. Microsoft announced Wednesday the 10-year old console will no longer be churned out of factories, but that doesn’t mean support for the console or its games are going away anytime soon.

“The Xbox 360 helped redefine an entire generation of gaming at Microsoft,” Head of Xbox Phil Spencer wrote on Xbox Wire. “I am incredibly proud of all of the work and dedication that went into development of the Xbox 360 hardware, services and games portfolio over the last decade. And I’m grateful to the fans for their continued passion and support.”

“Thanks to the Xbox 360, we evolved Xbox Live from the original Xbox into the thriving online gaming community it is today. And the console became a beloved gaming and entertainment hub with over 78 billion gaming hours played, nearly 486 billion Gamerscore on 27 billion achievements and over 25 billion hours spent in apps over its lifetime,” Spencer continued before getting to the revelation the console will no longer be made.

“The realities of manufacturing a product over a decade old are starting to creep up on us,” the Xbox boss explained. “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.”

Xbox 360 [Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images]The Xbox 360 sold more than 80 million units since it was first launched in 2006. It helped introduce new franchises like Gears of War and Mass Effect, which went multi-platform for its sequels. While it did bring the infamous “Red Ring of Death” at launch, it also introduced the concept of updating the console software to bring new experiences to gamers. The launch of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One inevitably led to a steep decline in sales for the Xbox 360, however. Sales of the last-gen machine have slipped by more than 70 percent as it has continued to age.

Things aren’t over though for owners of Xbox 360 consoles and games yet, thanks to the Xbox LIVE online service and Xbox One. Free Xbox 360 titles will still be available via Games with Gold and games will still go on sale digitally via Deals with Gold. Additionally, Xbox LIVE services will continue to support the last-gen console for online multiplayer, parties, and apps.

Of course, the ability to continue to use apps will depend on support from the makers of those apps. The ESPN app for the Xbox 360 was turned off at the end of March after the sports network elected to no longer support it, as reported by DeadSpin.

Gears of War The Xbox 360 introduced us to this band of burly dudes. [Image via Gears of War]Obviously, no new Xbox 360 games are currently being developed, and production runs for most of the console’s more than 4,000 games have ceased. New games will continue to be sold while supplies last, but there is a hefty secondary market of used games that can be purchased.

This all leads to backwards compatibility support with the Xbox One. Support for Xbox 360 games on the current-gen console was added back in November, 2015, with support for games picking up steam over the past month. There are currently more than 150 last-gen titles that can be played on the console, with more being added every week.

As the Inquisitr previously covered, Xbox One manages backwards compatibility by emulating the entire Xbox 360 operating system. This allows Xbox 360 games to run on the Xbox One without any special coding or other workarounds. The major hurdles remaining are the licensing agreements with development studios and publishers to allow the games to be played on the Xbox One and listed for sale on the Xbox Store for the console.

What are you favorite memories of the Xbox 360? Sound off in the comments below.

[Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]