Microsoft is killing off the Xbox 360
After a little more than a decade of gaming excellence, Microsoft's Xbox 360 got its official death notice on Thursday.
Microsoft announced in a company blog post that it will stop manufacturing the Xbox 360.
The gaming console will no longer be available after stores around the world sell out their current stock - and availability in any one region will depend on how much stock a particular area has left.
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The Xbox 360 was first introduced in 2005. While the 360 had a somewhat rocky debut due to early technical problems that presented many gamers with the dreaded "red ring of death" errors, Microsoft has sold at least 84 million units of the console as of June 2014.
After that, perhaps because of the Xbox One's 2013 debut, it stopped reporting Xbox 360 sales.
Its rival, the PlayStation 3, has an official sales count of 83.8 million units, though the game industry sales website VGChartz puts the PS3 slightly ahead of the Xbox 360 in lifetime sales.
With this announcement, Microsoft seems to be shifting its focus more fully onto the Xbox One, which could be getting an update as early as this year.
Nearly all tech gadgets are replaced after a time, of course, and Microsoft was very clear about why it was time for the Xbox 360 to fade away.
"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," wrote Phil Spencer, the head of Microsoft's Xbox division, in a post.
Spencer said in the post that Xbox 360 owners will continue to receive updates as usual, including for Xbox Live services for multiplayer gaming and parties, as well as any apps they've purchased.
Support servers will also remain online, and the company's support team will continue to service Xbox 360 consoles.
As for games, players will still be able to access their purchased Xbox 360 games. New games will only be sold as supplies last in stores.
The same is true for accessories - so if you need a new controller for your 360, now might be the time buy it.
Finally, many 360 games can also live on with the Xbox One, as Microsoft expands the newest console's backwards compatibility with older titles.
So while the box itself may be going away, its legacy will live on - and continue to generate money for Microsoft in the process.
Still, for gamers it is the end of an era.
- The Washington Post