A decade later, we’ve finally reached the end for Xbox 360.
Microsoft is ceasing production of the Xbox 360, according to a new blog post from the company’s gaming boss Phil Spencer. You’ll still see the Xbox 360 in stores while Microsoft sells the remainder of its stock, but it does not plan to manufacture any more. This console was the company’s breakout hit in the United States, and it provided the market — and especially Sony — with serious competition that went on to shape what gamers expected from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Microsoft’s older system also introduced a suite of online features and multimedia support that the industry now considers standard. Most important, the 360 helped maintain the importance of consoles in the $99.3 billion gaming industry through 2013.
“Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft,” wrote Spencer. “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. Which is why we have made the decision to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles.”
If you still primarily play games on the Xbox 360, this won’t affect you in any concrete way — although it’s still a sign that Microsoft will eventually end support for that system. For now, however, Spencer is promising to continue with updates and Xbox Live for the aging device. Many people pay a premium monthly (or annual) fee for Xbox Live Gold on Xbox 360 and Microsoft isn’t going to throw that revenue away any time soon. Additionally, Xbox One now has Xbox 360 backward compatibility, and that likely means Microsoft will maintain support for that console and the bulk of its services through the life of the Xbox One at the least.
What this really signifies is that Microsoft is now selling only one device that is primarily built for games. The Xbox One debuted in 2013, and it has sold well — although it has fallen significantly behind the PlayStation 4 in worldwide sales. At the same time, Spencer is overseeing an expansion of the Xbox brand to Windows 10, and ending 360 production is part of tightening that focus on this new strategy.