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Looking back to 2016 at the Discontinuation of the Xbox 360 – The End of an Era


As the second console released by Microsoft, the Xbox 360 had a huge amount riding on it. It was the follow-up to a brand new entry to the market, and had to go up against two very fearsome competitors in the form of the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3. With a lifespan of over ten years, there’s no denying just how much of a triumph the Xbox 360 was. On the anniversary of its retirement, let’s have a look back over the life of one of history’s most successful game consoles.

Xbox 360 Family

It’s safe to say that the era of the Xbox 360 saw the evolution and realisation of online gaming. Beforehand, it had been very much in its infancy and a right faff to get up and running. Unless you had a lengthy LAN cable and a phone line nearby, you had pretty much had it.

Xbox Live really came into its own on the 360, reinventing itself as an intuitive, slick, matchmaking network for online players. To use it, you needed to pay a subscription fee – Xbox Gold. Back in the day you needed this even to use apps like catch-up TV. For online functionality, it was all or nothing.

Of course, once you were an Xbox Gold member you could play with your mates online and easily meet up thanks to friends lists and online profiles. Arguably, the hallmark of gaming online on your Xbox was (and still is) your Gamerscore. This is earned by completing achievements in games so you can brag to anyone who will listen about how mad your “skillz” are.

Xbox 360 Red Ring

Possibly the most memorable element of the original Xbox was the chunky controllers, before their crash diet a few years later. The dial swung right to the other side when the Xbox 360 was released, as the game controllers were universally adored. They even became the PC gamer’s choice thanks to a handy cable which allowed them to be used to play instead of a keyboard and mouse.

Way back when you could play your game straight off the disc instantly (technology has gone backwards here, in my humble opinion) hard drive space wasn’t so much of an issue. The original Xbox 360 had a chunky HDD which clipped into the top of it, providing a paltry 20GB of storage by today’s standards, but at the time was more than enough for what was needed.

Overall, the Xbox 360 put in a very strong performance against the PS3 and Wii, possibly marking the high point of the Xbox family of consoles so far (in a commercial sense anyway). However, if all goes to plan and with a fair wind we could be heading to that place again very soon.

Xbox Kinect

As I’m sure you’re thinking, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 360. In fact, far from it as the words “Red Rings of Death” very much suggest. This was a known critical issue at the start of the console’s life, which would result in it refusing to start up and ultimately needing a repair. Microsoft extended the warranty to try and deal with this, and I remember my Dad sending his Xbox 360 Premium back twice. In the end, we were convinced he was just sent a new one to save on further hassle. Who knows how much the issue cost Microsoft in the end?

The Xbox 360 dabbled in the world of peripherals too, the most well-known one being Xbox Kinect. This was a motion sensor which sat near the console, and allowed you to play games using gestures. Despite being well-received upon release, and the technology being very much on trend after the Wii’s huge success, Kinect soon lost momentum. An initially exciting lineup of games weakened quickly, and without the software players started to remove the Xbox Kinect from their collective wish lists. 

Away from games, the home cinema scene was also taking significant strides forward, with DVDs quickly being superseded by newer technologies. Microsoft backed HD DVD and Sony sided with Blu-Ray, in a very short-lived battle for the successor to the DVD. The format war raged for a couple of years, but much like Betamax, HD DVD lost out as the big players chose the opposing side, causing the format to die out shortly afterwards as new releases quickly ceased.

Xbox 360

But, of course, games are the most important element of any console and there were some all time greats on the Xbox 360. Thanks to its commercial success, many games went multi-platform, meaning players were presented with a vast library to choose from by the time the console was retired. 

I cherish so many great gaming experiences on the Xbox 360, from Gears of War and Halo 3, to The Orange Box, BioShock and Red Dead Redemption. There was an incredibly strong lineup for the console, despite some concerns from players around the lack of exclusive titles which still dogs the family of consoles to this day.

The Xbox 360 represents a largely successful and hugely important part of Microsoft’s history in the gaming market. Without it, we would not be enjoying the new games and technologies that we have access to today, and back in 2016 the Xbox 360 most certainly earned it’s right to retire. 

And if you never picked up an Xbox 360 but fancy one for your collection, Amazon is by far your best bet.

Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards
I have been playing games since a very early age, thanks to my Dad's encouragement. I've been an Xbox gamer since the very beginning, the Master Chief is to thank for that. I'm also a big Nintendo geek, and my other half is a PlayStation nut. I'll play pretty much anything in any genre (although FIFA and COD maybe pushing it).


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3 years ago

Cop on. PS3 was a jump above 360, here are a few examples why.

– Insane accessory support from controllers, webcams, headsets, you name it, plug any wired controller into a PS3 and it works, heck, even the PS5 controller works via bluetooth
– Bluray, INSTANTLY more next gen than 360 and its disc scratching DVD drives.
– Mandatory install of games to the hard drive, something you all gave Sony flak for throughout the whole of the PS3 gen, you all fairly shut up on 22nd Nov 2013 though.
– Cross Play/Buy……… since the PS3 days
– having big release AAA games available day one on the servers like in stores since 2011, Xbox didn’t do that until the day Xbone launched. Seriously, TLOU could be downloaded fully day one on PS3 and Gears Judgement, a game 3 months old at that point, couldn’t be downloaded because Microsoft used to wait until the high demand of a game was over and then release it on Live so their servers would hardly be affected.
– Actual free to play games, Xbox still doesn’t do this…. even 2 months after finally saying they will, need to pass that fiscal year first before losing millions of gold subs I suppose.
– Region free console, if you remember, I guarantee you don’t, 360 wasn’t region free like PS3 was, in fact Xbone was originally going to be locked to THE COUNTRY with the terrible user hating DRM plans
– This is a huge one for developers, there was no limit on sizes of patches, demos or DLC…….. oh and GAMES on PS3, 360 had tiny limitations on what these could be, at 50mbs in 2005 all the way to a staggering 2gbs being the last major update to this in 2011, again it wasn’t until Xbone that this limit was removed to the cheer of developers that had shackles and walls removed from their creativity
– 40 player multiplayer in Resistance at the launch of PSN, 60 players 2 years later in Resistance 2, 256 players in MAG, Xbox Live didn’t do 64 players until, you guessed it, the launch of Xbone in 2013 with a 3rd party game BF4.

Here is a basic PSN feature from last gen that beats Xbox, Shareplay, nearly 7 years old now and still unavailable on the inferior Xbox live. Meanwhile, Xbox is still charging for basic party chat.

These are some very basic reasons why PS3 and PSN annihalted Xbox and its inferior service all last gen. And yes. PS3 did catch up and overtake Xbox from the day it launched in November 2006. READ IT AND WEEP https://www.sie.com/en/corporate/data.html

Facts, I know, it hurts.

3 years ago

Do a nice look back to May 2020 too, the death of Xbonex lol.

3 years ago

360 had the best features,best games, best deals, best controller and easily the best online infrastructure and felt like a generation above PS3/wii. 360 also outsold PS3 the entire generation in hardware/software and no offical aligned sales numbers prove PS3 ever caught up or passed 360.

Antonio U.
Antonio U.
3 years ago

I love my 360, still play it today. When I was a XBL Good member, I got to download tons of games for free, but never played them. Since the pandemic, I’ve found time to delve into my collection, and play some other titles like Gears of War 2 and 3 that I bought for $.99 each.

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