343 Industries is sunsetting Halo Xbox 360 game services next year

Cortana from Halo 4
(Image credit: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios)

343 Industries is sunsetting support for Xbox 360 Halo games in December 2021.

The developer has given twelve months notice to players that the online servers for Halo: Reach, Halo 4, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Spartan Assault and Halo Wars will be turned off next year.

"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," the developer explained in a recent update on the Halo Waypoint, emphasising that the games offline features will still remain available. The changes do, however, still apply to titles running on Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S via backward compatibility.

"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 prioritise 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. "

Consequently, digital sales for X360 Halo games have now been stopped.

ICYMI, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will be getting more content throughout 2021. The future plans are outlined in the last Halo Waypoint blog post of the year, which comes in the form of a Master Chief Collection (or MCC) development retrospective. The post comprehensively outlines some of the new content and features set to come to the collection in the future. 

More seasons are set to come next year on a regular two-month basis. Starting off with Season 5 in 2021, 343 plans to continue on to Season 10 before deciding whether to add more seasons after that. Mod support will also be a big focus for the developer going into the new year, with more information set to be revealed next year. 

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Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and GameIndustry.biz. Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.