343 Industries To Decommission Over A Handful Of Xbox 360 Halo Games’ Online Services Including Halo 3, Halo: Reach, And More Next Holiday

Posted on December 18, 2020 by Nick Moreno

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For the assortment of Halo titles that released over the years, many fans recognize that the series most glowing attribute is in its online multiplayer. Either Halo 3, Halo: Reach, or even Halo 4, most of players’ most memorable moments took place online among friends and other players alike. However, the servers that are utilized for the game do not last forever un fortunately.

While these games are to be preserved through the form of the backwards compatibility program orchestrated by Microsoft, the multiplayer portion is still interlinked with the servers of older hardware. So to blatantly say it – the online components for Halo 3 and its sibling releases are on its way out coming holiday 2021.

In a new Halo Waypoint post, 343 Industries announces the legacy releases on Xbox 360 will be decommissioning its online services in December 2021. The games affected include Halo 3, Halo: Spartan Assault, Halo: Reach, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars, and Halo 4.

To date, we’ve juggled future-facing work and priorities with continued upkeep of Halo’s Xbox 360 legacy services. Maintaining these legacy services today requires significant time and resources which directly impacts the studio’s ability to support current and future projects like Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite. 

Meanwhile, the month over month usage of these legacy Xbox 360 game services continues to dwindle, creating an even greater imbalance between the time and work required to maintain vs. the net impact to the overall Halo community. That’s not to say we don’t value and care about everyone who plays Halo – we absolutely do. But, as with any business, our teams must continually weigh needs against available resources (time, people, expertise, etc.) and prioritize on areas and opportunities that yield the greatest impact.

As these games continue to age, and as improved modern replacements for many of these experiences have moved to the forefront, less and less people are investing time in the original legacy titles. Digital sales have greatly slowed and physical sales of these legacy Xbox 360 titles were halted back in 2018. 

Every cycle spent maintaining and supporting Xbox 360 legacy services is time and energy not spent on the future of Halo. To that end – today we are announcing our intention to sunset our Halo Xbox 360 legacy services to fully focus on the future of the franchise. In approximately ONE YEAR, December 2021, online services for legacy Halo Xbox 360 titles will be discontinued. Owners of these titles will still be able to play these games indefinitely, however, certain online features and experiences, particularly online matchmaking, will be limited or disabled.  

In the same blog post, 343 Industries does go on to clarify that the decision is not to be confused with the active Halo: The Master Chief Collection titles. While they are the same games, the respected entries mentioned on the list are part of the original network of releases on older hardware and separate from the newer and reworked version crafted by 343 Industries.

And while there is a sad realization for past Halo entries in the coming year, there are also some refreshing new looks for the coming installment, Halo Infinite. 343 Industries pressed on the advancements of the coming release regarding the game’s Slipspace Engine and a new fall 2021 release window. You can read the full report by heading here.

Are you upset by the news revealed today?

Source: Halo Waypoint

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