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Phil Spencer Would "Love" To Keep Xbox 360 Games From Being Lost As Shutdown Looms

It doesn't sound like a solution has been found just yet, but perhaps there's still hope.


Xbox boss Phil Spencer said the team at Xbox would "love to find solutions" in order to save the 220 non-backwards compatible games set to become unavailable for purchase once the Xbox 360 digital storefront shuts down next year.

In a wide-ranging Eurogamer interview with Spencer at Gamescom, the CEO of Microsoft's gaming division discussed the recently announced Xbox 360 storefront shutdown and said he has the list of non-back compat games set to be lost in the shuffle "stapled" to his forehead. He said game preservation is "critical" to Team Xbox, and wants to ensure those games can remain playable in some form. That might simply mean those games are already available on PC, which he said is "the best ecosystem for game preservation" because it's not tied to an old piece of hardware.

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"That's one thing, because it doesn't necessarily mean you need to be able to play it on the existing hardware that you bought 15 years ago, but preservation is front and center when all these decisions are made," Spencer said.

For games that aren't available on PC, Spencer said it was important to give players a year's notice on the Xbox 360 storefront shutdown so they can purchase those titles. The Xbox 360 store will go offline on July 29, 2024. Though it doesn't sound like there are any concrete plans, Spencer did mention some solution might be found in the next year to keep those non-back compat-games available.

"And just know that the list of the 220 games is something that we see, and we would love to find solutions for those games to continue to play," Spencer said.

As for why Microsoft has decided to shut down the 360 storefront, Spencer said it came down to the "lifespan of the hardware" and the number of users actually still playing and buying games on the Xbox 360.

"It's a pretty small community," Spencer said. "The community of buyers is very, very small. So as the back end--which is tied to that hardware, roughly--starts to kind of bring down just from a sustainability [point], and almost all the players have moved on, we're like, 'okay, we can focus our efforts on where the players are and where they can buy.'"

Many of the games set to become unavailable for purchase once the 360 store goes offline are digital-only titles that were part of what was once called Xbox Live Arcade. Some of those titles, like Supergiant's Bastion, have been re-released on more modern Xbox hardware. Many that haven't, like Bionic Commando: ReArmed, have been released on other platforms like PC. Video Games Chronicle has a full list of titles affected by the store shutdown.

Game content already purchased on the Xbox 360 will still be able to be played and re-downloaded, and backward-compatible titles will still be available for purchase on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. The Xbox 360's Microsoft Movies & TV app, however, will cease to function once the 360 store goes offline, with all the content purchased via the app becoming inaccessible.

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