Microsoft plans to shut down 'Halo' services for Xbox 360 in December 2021

It's already halting digital sales of the games.

You might not want to count on playing Xbox 360 Halo games online for much longer. Thurrott reports Microsoft and 343 Industries are winding down Halo Xbox 360 services over the next year. The two have halted digital sales of all Halo games for the platform (DLC is still available), and will shut down matchmaking, challenges and other key online features for the titles “no sooner than” December 18th, 2021.

This doesn’t affect Master Chief Collection games or Halo Wars: Definitive Edition, but it does include the backwards-compatible versions you play on the Xbox One or Series X/S. The Xbox 360 versions will still support custom online games, local games and online squads — you just can’t use features that depend on services.

It’s not a shocking move. The last conventional shooter in the franchise for the Xbox 360, Halo 4, shipped in 2012. These are old releases, and it may be difficult to justify supporting them when players can switch the MCC versions using modern technology. Still, it’s hard not to get a bit misty-eyed. Many gamers grew up playing Halo titles on the Xbox 360 — Microsoft and 343 are effectively phasing out childhood memories, even if the games will still work on a basic level.