It’s the end of an era for the Xbox 360. Microsoft announced Thursday that it’s taking the Xbox 360 Store offline in 2024, a year and change shy of the console’s 20th anniversary. The store shutdown has no bearing on your ability to play Xbox 360 games, however — all games and downloadable content will remain playable on the Xbox 360, and on newer consoles via backward compatibility, Microsoft said in its news release.
Microsoft said that players will no longer be able to purchase games on the Xbox 360 Store come July 29, 2024. Other entertainment products won’t work anymore either, like the Microsoft Movies & TV app. You have up until that date to purchase games and DLC from the Xbox 360 Store and the online marketplace. Beyond games and entertainment, “trials, add-ons, avatar items, gamerpics, game trailers, and videos” will become unavailable to purchase alongside “gamertag changes on Xbox 360, Xbox subscriptions on Xbox 360, [and] in-game purchases.” Unfortunately, not all video games on Xbox 360 are backward-compatible, which will make several games significantly harder to get and play. Gaming website TrueAchievements has a list of games that are not playable on newer consoles, if you want to plan ahead for the Xbox 360 Store shutdown.
Likewise, nothing is changing with the ability to buy backward-compatible Xbox 360 games from the Xbox One and Xbox Series X stores. The Xbox 360 network will remain online, too, for multiplayer support for as long as individual games’ publishers supports online servers, Microsoft said. “You can still save your games and progress to the cloud, and if you choose to continue any of those available games on Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S, those cloud saves will transfer over,” the company wrote.
Crucially, there’s also nothing keeping you from purchasing games physically; Xbox 360 games remain pretty readily available in physical form, though there are some games that are harder to get your hands on. For more information about the Xbox 360 Store and Xbox 360 Marketplace closure, Microsoft has a full FAQ page on its website.
Microsoft stopped producing new Xbox 360 consoles in 2016, a few years after the Xbox One launched. The console was originally released in 2005 in North America, what some would call a revolutionary development in consoles. Microsoft sold more than 84 million units by 2014, making the Xbox 360 one of the top-selling consoles of all time and an important part of Microsoft’s rise in the market. The Xbox 360, in particular, holds a special place in the history of multiplayer gaming; titles like Halo 3 and Gears of War defined the multiplayer experience of the console generation. The Xbox Live Indie Games store was also important in bringing indie games to the masses, though it was shut down in 2016.
Then there’s the Xbox 360’s Gamerscore system, which was fully implemented with the Xbox 360’s launch. It wasn’t the first console or game to introduce an achievement system, but was the sustaining system for platforms, kicked off before the likes of Valve and Sony added their own systems. Of course, in talking about the legacy of the Xbox 360, we can’t ignore the “Red Ring of Death,” an infamous flashing red light that denoted a dead Xbox.