The end of the line has come, perhaps surprisingly early, for Xbox 360.
Microsoft has announced that it is ending production of the console just over ten years after it arrived. Once current supplies have gone, that will be it.
Xbox 360 means a lot to everyone in Microsoft. 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,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said.
We will continue to sell existing inventory of Xbox 360 consoles, with availability varying by country.”
Microsoft has vowed to continue Xbox Live support for the machine, including multiplayer and Games With Gold. For how long remains to be seen.
I want to personally thank the Xbox community – that includes the vast and diverse audience of gamers, developers and publishers who brought so much passion and creativity to the Xbox 360,” Spencer added. You are the heart of what we do at Team Xbox, and you have been critical to the success of Xbox 360.”
Sony's PS2 was only cancelled in 2013 after 12 years, during which time it had sold 150m. However, by that point PS4 was already on the horizon and PS3 had bedded in and was on its way to over 80m unit sales.
Xbox 360 sales are around in line with PS3 overall at just over 80m units. Microsoft's console put in a stunning performance in territories such as the US and UK, while PS3 was able to catch its lead by the end thanks to great success in the East and mainland Europe.
However, with Xbox One lagging so far behind PS4, the decision to kill Xbox 360 comes despite the presence of so many emerging markets that are seemingly a fit with a low-cost legacy platform. On the other hand, Xbox One is outpacing Xbox 360's sales, and Microsoft will undoubtedly want to push its backwards compatibility support.
Xbox 360 underwent two hardware redesigns throughout its lifetime, with the original Pro, Arcade and Elite models (early versions of which suffered some pretty severe defects) eventually making way for first the Xbox 360 Slim and then eventually the Xbox One-esque Xbox 360 S.