Bungie Studios--the company that created the Halo franchise--will completely hand over the sci-fi shooter series to Microsoft on March 31, 2012.
Bungie's transition away from Halo began over the summer, when Microsoft's new Halo house 343 Industries started taking increased control of the brand.
A new post on Bungie.net reveals that on March 31, Bungie will completely hand over the reins to 343 for all online Halo services. This means on that date Bungie will no longer be able to update game statistics and player files, host new user-generated assets, or control the Bungie Pro premium service. The company said all Bungie-developed Halo games will be affected by this action.
That said, Bungie noted that "all existing historical Halo data" on Bungie.net will remain intact for as long as the Internet stays up and the company's data storage systems continue to be operational.
343 Industries released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary in November and is presently at work developing Halo 4, a direct sequel to 2007's Halo 3. The new Master Chief game is due for release this holiday season.
Bungie's next title will be published by Activision as part of a new 10-year agreement. The mystery game is in development for multiple platforms, will run on an all-new engine and is currently code-named "Tiger."