I know what you did next summer: Microsoft to kill off Xbox 360 Store

Don't worry, your downloaded games are safe ... for now?

Microsoft revealed Thursday it will shutter its Xbox 360 Store next summer, nearly two decades after the console hit the market. That will leave the IT giant catering for its current-gen Xbox Series X and S consoles.

Beginning July 29, 2024, Xbox 360 owners will no longer be able to purchase games, DLC, or other content, such as movies and television shows, on their console from the online store or marketplace. This decision comes about seven years after Microsoft ended production of the venerable system, which launched in 2005.

Gamers will still be able to access and play their already-bought games after that date. In an announcement, the software giant reassured folks it was "committed to supporting Xbox 360 gameplay for the foreseeable future — and you will still be able to play and re-download previously purchased content and connect with friends."

This means Microsoft isn't shutting down its servers just yet. But while players won't lose access to their games on the console, the same can't be said of media purchased through the Xbox's Movies and TV app. After the July deadline, that application will cease to function, and all such content purchased through the app will remain available only on supported consoles and PC.

Ie, not Xbox 360s. "TV and movie content will no longer be viewable on your Xbox 360 after July 29, 2024," Microsoft exec Dave McCarthy warned. "This change will not affect your ability to play Xbox 360 games or DLC you have already purchased."

While Xbox 360 titles will no longer be available for online purchase on the console they were originally designed for, Microsoft emphasizes that customers will "still be able to purchase hundreds of great backward compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games and DLC on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox.com."

So, clearly the folks at Redmond still intend to exploit your nostalgia to sell content, just on newer hardware. However, it's worth noting that many of these games have been "enhanced" with features like Microsoft's FPS Boost and Auto HDR, which may rub purists the wrong way.

For the Xbox 360, this change largely affects customers purchasing games and content online as opposed to physical media, which is still readily available on the used market.

The decision does, however, highlight the reliance of more modern consoles on cloud infrastructure. Both the Xbox One and Xbox Series X still have disc drives, though the budget-oriented Series S doesn't and is reliant on online servers remaining up to function. And with games growing well beyond the 100GB mark, we suspect it won't be long before console makers like Microsoft and Sony ditch physical media as an option entirely. ®

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