Microsoft Phases Out Xbox 360 After More Than 10 Years In The Market

Technology and software company Microsoft has finally pulled the plug in the production of Xbox 360 units, as announced in a blog post on Wednesday.

The news may come as a shock to many, but the decision to end production is something that Microsoft has been thinking about the past three years.

The console department's head Phil Spencer said in the post that the Xbox 360 means "a lot" to everyone in Microsoft, as it cemented the company's reputation in the console gaming niche.

"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," he added, pointing out that more consumers are buying the latest Xbox One game console.

It is also worth mentioning that developers are slowly refraining from developing versions of new games that will be compatible with the 10-year-old machine.

However, Spencer said that the company and its authorized dealers and outlets can still sell the remaining units although availability will vary per country.

The hit Microsoft gaming console was launched in 2005 as a follow-up to Microsoft's first entry into the gaming market, the Xbox. Interestingly, the then-new 360 did extremely well, selling more than 80 million units worldwide.

The game console became the ultimate Christmas gift for years, especially in North America, according to a report. While some say that the 360's success was caused by Sony's delay in releasing PlayStation 3, it still did not matter. It became the biggest trend in gaming consoles.

Also, to the excitement of serious gamers, the 360 also saw a number of exclusive titles such as the Halo franchise, and Gears of War, both of which were published by Microsoft.

The Xbox also supported Microsoft's Kinect, which allowed gamers to use body movements in games. While it became a huge success at that time, the trend did not last, mainly due to the bugs and glitches that plagued the system.

About eight years after the second-generation Xbox was launched, the Redmond-based company then released the 360's successor, the Xbox One. After the latest console had been announced, it was apparent that the 360 would have to go sooner than later.

While Microsoft announced that it will cease production of the 360, the blog post said that it would still continue to provide support to existing units and their players.

For instance, players who still play online on multiplayer mode on their Xbox 360 consoles can still play the game because the servers are still up and running.

Spencer has also been very vocal about the 360's success through the years. In recent posts, he mentioned that there were 360 players who have managed to log in about 78 billion gaming hours.

Also, those same players spent 25 billion hours in apps and accumulated a 486 billion Gamerscore across 27 billion achievements. The great thing about it is that those numbers will continue to grow as long as Microsoft continues to support the Xbox 360 and its games and apps.

However, there were no details on how long the company will support a phased out product.

It is very likely that once Microsoft releases a new game console to succeed the Xbox One, that is when it will ultimately end all support for the 360.

While the end of the Xbox 360 also ends another era in console gaming, it is still more impressive than other game consoles. As an example, Nintendo's Wii U console is also set to be phased out soon, with just over four years of existence in the gaming market.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain]