LONDON: Microsoft said on Thursday it would pull the plug on Xbox 360’s online store and marketplace next year, as it focuses on its latest consoles and subscription service Game Pass.
Xbox 360 Store and Xbox 360 Marketplace will be shut on July 29, 2024, and gamers using the old console will not be able to purchase and download new games, according to a post on Xbox’s website.
Microsoft is, however, allowing users to play with their already purchased Xbox 360 games and older titles that are compatible with the console.
“A lot has changed since the Xbox 360 launched in 2005. Technology has evolved, expectations from players have shifted, and we are focused on making Xbox Series X|S the best place to play now and in the future,” Xbox said.
Microsoft stopped the production of Xbox 360 in 2016 and a year later launched Xbox Game Pass, a subscription gaming service that can be accessed on consoles and Windows platforms.
As part of its latest move, the Movies & TV app on the older console will also be removed.
Xbox 360 is regarded as one of the best-selling gaming consoles of all time, right up against Sony’s PlayStation 3. Microsoft had sold about 84 million units of Xbox 360 till 2014, which is when it stopped reporting its sales because of the launch of the successor Xbox One.
In Saudi Arabia Xbox has a strong presence. According to the 2023 Saudi Gaming Market Outlook Report, the company controls 6.5 percent market share in the video game console market among non-professional gamers.
The Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, has emerged as a key player in the gaming industry in recent years. According to a report by tech company Game Changer, 60 percent of the region’s population consider themselves to be gaming enthusiasts.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia launched a national strategy to make the country a global hub for gaming and esports.
The strategy, which is backed by a $38-billion investment, aims to develop 30 games and create 40,000 jobs by 2030 and is expected to contribute $13.3 billion to the country’s GDP by 2030.