It is with a heavy heart that I come to you, my friends. Microsoft announced today that it will be discontinuing the Xbox 360, a console which no doubt brought light and love to all of our lives. The rugged console was only ten years young and it will be gone all too soon.
"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," explained Xbox boss Phil Spencer. "Which is why we have made the decision to stop manufacturing new Xbox 360 consoles. We will continue to sell existing inventory of Xbox 360 consoles, with availability varying by country."
"We know that many of you became gamers on Xbox 360 and are still active, so it's important to us that while the overall Xbox gaming experience will evolve and grow, we will continue to support the platform you love in multiple ways."
Microsoft intends to keep the joyful spirit of the Xbox 360 alive by keeping Xbox Live and Xbox Support open on the console. Just because Microsoft has moved on, doesn't mean they've forgotten you, Xbox 360.
Who can forget the Xbox 360's 2005-2006 launch in 36 countries including Japan, who continued not to care about the Xbox brand? Of the 84 million consoles sold on the platform, how many ultimately felt to the fiendish Red Ring of Death? Sure, overheating was a problem for many early Xbox 360 models, leading Microsoft to extend the hardware warranty to three years, but issues are bound to happen.
I certainly remember the hunt for a Xbox 360 Premium Zephyr model for that improved heatsink and sweet, sweet HDMI output. Or when the Xbox 360 S launched with built-in wireless support. Whether you had an Xbox 360 Core, Arcade, Premium, Premium Falcon, Elite, Super Elite, or S, I'm sure every system did its best to provide you with great memories.
Remember the cavalcade of Xbox 360 dashboard updates, wildly changing the system's basic layout each time? We began with the Blades, but by 2008, the system had updated to the "New Xbox Experience", with floating cards resembling Microsoft's failed Zune portable media player. Then in 2011, it updated again to the Metro interface, bringing the console in line with Windows 8. Did you like ads? Well the Metro interface brought them to you in full force.
The Xbox 360 was also the first platform to use Microsoft's Kinect. Like the Nintendo Power Glove or Sega Activator before it, the Kinect promised much, but never lived up to that potential. Dance Central and Just Dance proved to be the highlights of the technology, while games like Fable: The Journey, Dragon Ball Z for Kinect, and Kinect Star Wars were mere diversions. Think of it as a noble failure; a technological Icarus that simply flew too close to the sun.
Other than playing games, the Xbox 360's crowning achievement was being the first console to support Netflix streaming, making it the de facto media box that Microsoft always wanted in the living room. Sure, it ended up that many used the 360 more for Netflix, Crunchyroll, or Hulu than actually playing games, but every time you powered on the Xbox 360, that was a win for Microsoft.
Though I unplugged it long ago, I do look back on my Xbox 360 with fondness. I salute its still plastic form in my entertainment center, remembering all the times it brought me joy. I began the last generation as an Xbox 360 fan and though I fell off that wagon, it hit its potential. The system didn't win the generation, but it did fight the PlayStation 3 hard for second or third place. Well met, mighty console.
You will be missed.