They say if you want to bury a story, you release it late on a Friday, and one imagines that goes doubly for the Friday before many people go on Christmas vacation. Thus it was, late on Friday, 343 Industries announced that Halo Xbox 360 Online Services will be sunsetting next year, and that they are no longer selling them digitally on Xbox 360.
Today marked the end of Halo games sold in their Xbox 360 form, but the servers will be up for another year, with the sunsetting coming no earlier than December 18, 2021. For these games, it means there will largely be no more online match making (Halo Wars, and Halo Spartan Assault will continue to have match-making), with filesharing getting disabled in titles that have it. Service records and Player customization will continue to be available in Halo 3 and ODST, but not in Halo Reach and Halo 4. Challenges, MOTD, and Extras, where applicable, won't be available after sunsetting either.
Achievements are a mixed bag, with those that are related to services going offline, no longer possible to earn after the services are sunset. With that being said, many things will still be available, such as custom games, forge, split-screen and LAN multiplayer, online squads, firefight, and of course the campaign.
What does this mean for Halo: Master Chief Collection and Backwards Compatibility?
For Halo: Master Chief Collection there are no impacts from this change at all. For those editions of the game, they reworked the online services to more modern standards and there is no plan to sunset any part of Halo: Master Chief Collection, at this time. That's not to say all versions you're playing on your Xbox One or Xbox Series S|X are safe. Backwards compatible versions of the affected Halo games will also be impacted by this. So if you were planning to play Halo 3 online pvp against randoms on your Xbox Series X after next year, you'll need to pick up the Halo: Master Chief Collection.
If you want to find out more, you can check out the whole post here, which has an FAQ.
What do you think of Halo Xbox 360 servers sunsetting next year? Are you concerned about the digital future? Let us know in the comments below!