Microsoft is removing these classic Xbox 360 games from sale as soon as next week

Xbox 360 stood up vertically
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Xbox recently issued a bulletin on its Xbox Live status page noting that some Xbox 360 games will be removed from digital storefronts on February 7, 2023. 
  • Some of these games do not have proper store listings on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, despite being backward compatible. 
  • It shouldn't affect users who already own these titles. 
  • It remains to be seen how this update could impact store listings on modern Xbox consoles with backward compatibility, and we've reached out to Microsoft to clarify. 

Update, Jan. 31, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. CT: In a statement to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that, "Beginning on February 7, 2023, a limited set of games, add-ons, and in-game content will no longer be purchasable in select markets via the Xbox 360 Store. These titles will no longer be purchasable on the Xbox 360 Store only, and titles that are available to be purchased on the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S Stores will remain purchasable. You will still be able to play discs or previously downloaded games on your Xbox 360 and modern consoles if they are backwards compatible titles."

This confirms user speculation that Microsoft's recent reveal that certain Xbox 360 games being delisted from the aging Xbox 360 platform would not impact those games' availability on modern Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. However, that still leaves games that are not backward compatible ceasing to be available on their original platform, while even games that are backward compatible on modern Xboxes may no longer be available due to the games not having a listing on the current Xbox Store, such as DOOM 3 and Jet Set Radio.

The Microsoft spokesperson also stated, "Since the launch of Xbox One in 2013, Xbox has been working to move all digital Xbox 360 products to a new and modern commerce platform. As we finalize the migration, there is a limited set of games, add-ons, and in-game content that are unavailable in the modern commerce platform."

If you want to digitally own any of the games listed below, and those titles are not currently available directly through the Xbox Store on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, be sure to head to the Xbox 360 Store and purchase them within the next week, before the titles are permanently delisted from the platform. Bear in mind that some of these games are not backward compatible and cannot be played on modern Xbox consoles, and many of the games that are backward compatible can currently be purchased in the Xbox Store.

Our original article continues below...

The DRM debate rages on, with Microsoft gearing up to remove a range of classic games from sale as early as next week. 

Wario64 and other users on reddit and Twitter noticed a service update on Xbox Live, explaining that on February 7th, Microsoft will remove dozens of games from various markets. Doubtless this revolves around things like expiring licenses, but what is unclear is how this could impact Xbox 360 backward compatibility on modern Xbox consoles. 

Indeed, some of these games do not have modern store listings on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. As such, it's unclear if certain games could be removed from sale entirely when this update goes ahead. 

The list of games set to be removed is as follows in the U.S. For other regions, head to this link

  • Aegis Wing 
  • Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 
  • Assassin's Creed® III 
  • Assassin's Creed® IV 
  • Assassin's Creed® Liberation HD 
  • Blood of the Werewolf 
  • Blue Dragon 
  • Breakdown
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts 
  • Castle Crashers 
  • Cloning Clyde 
  • Counter-Strike: GO 
  • Dark Souls™ 
  • Darksiders II 
  • Defense Grid 
  • Eets: Chowdown 
  • Far Cry® 2 
  • Final Fight: DblImpact 
  • Iron Brigade 
  • Jeremy McGrath's Offroad
  • Jet Set Radio 
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Left 4 Dead 2 
  • LIMBO 
  • Lost Odyssey 
  • Mass Effect 2 
  • Mutant Blobs Attack 
  • N+ 
  • Outpost Kaloki X 
  • Peggle ® 2 
  • Phantom Breaker:Battle Grounds 
  • Prince of Persia 
  • R.U.S.E.
  • Sega Vintage Collection: Alex Kidd & Co. 
  • Skate 2 
  • South Park™: The Stick of Truth™ 
  • Spelunky 
  • Splinter Cell Conviction
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Star Wars KOTOR 2 
  • The Orange Box 
  • The Raven Episode 1 
  • The Witcher 2

We've reached out to Microsoft to clarify how and when each game will be removed, and whether or not it could impact the sizeable list of available Xbox backwards compatible titles currently on offer. We suspect that the vast majority of these games will still be available to purchase on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S directly, but it remains unclear whether titles that haven't been properly updated for the new system will be available. Some games are only available as a "Bundle," The Orange Box for example, and those bundles do not currently have proper store listings mapped out on the modern consoles. Other games like DOOM 3 and Jet Set Radio do not have a listing on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S despite being backward compatible, owing to license issues. 

Windows Central's Take

I'm often a huge proponent of digital purchasing, but situations like this remind us why physical discs are still important to offer consumers as an option. Licensing issues, shuttered services, and closed companies can lead to games being removed from sale, hindering game preservation efforts across the board. 

Microsoft is one of the few game companies that has been willing to invest so heavily in legal video game preservation, either by emulation with the Xbox 360 backward compatibility emulator on modern Xbox consoles or via full native ports. Microsoft recently worked with Nintendo to bring Rare's GoldenEye to modern consoles, for example. License holders can often be greedy, or petty when it comes to availability. Digital games disappearing from Apple and Google mobile platforms is a regular occurrence, and I suspect we could see similar from core consoles too in the future if users don't push back on at least offering physical discs as an option moving forward. 

I'll be sure to update this article with clarification from Microsoft if, and when we get it. 

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

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