343 Industries has announced that it is sunsetting online services for legacy Halo Xbox 360 titles on December 2021. What this means is that classic Halo ports, such as Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, will no longer support core online features such as matchmaking and fileshare.
As you might imagine, 343i is pulling the plug due to the decreasing popularity of the aging Xbox 360 platform, which, while ancient, still requires “significant time and resources.” That sort of manpower is better reserved for modern projects such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo Infinite.
“[…] 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.
“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.”
343i has actually developed a multi-phase approach to the shutdown. Here’s what Halo Xbox 360 players can expect before the services are fully terminated next year.
Phase One – Fall 2019
- One-time migration of over 6M pieces of Halo Xbox 360 Legacy UGC data to Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Phase Two – December 2020 (WE ARE HERE)
- Initial notification to players
- Digital sales of Halo Xbox 360 titles are halted
- *Halo Xbox 360 DLC can still be acquired at no cost
Phase Three – 2021
- Continued messaging and reminders throughout the year across Halo channels
Phase Four – December 2021 *(TBD, no sooner than 1 year from the date of today’s blog)
- Halo Xbox 360 legacy services are turned off
Halo Xbox 360 players can check out the table below to get an idea of what online features are being killed off for each individual title. Halo 4 and Halo: Reach seem particularly hard hit, but matchmaking will go in the Halo spin-offs (Spartan Assault, Halo Wars).
To be clear, none of these changes will affect The Master Chief Collection and its modern ports (i.e., Halo: Reach, Halo, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4) in any way. “The Halo titles within MCC have been rebuilt and remastered to leverage totally different, modernized services and will not be affected by this sunsetting,” 343i confirmed.