Halo Xbox 360 servers have been shut down, ending an era

Halo 3
Halo 3 (Image credit: u/Petter1998 on r/Halo)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and 343 Industries have shut down the Xbox 360 matchmaking servers for Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4.
  • These games are still playable, but are now missing some features, including File Share, Challenges, and Player Customization.
  • Multiplayer for all affected games remains playable through Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC).

Microsoft and 343 Industries have shut down the matchmaking multiplayer servers for the mainline Xbox 360-era Halo games, including Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 (as well as Firefight matchmaking for Halo 3: ODST). Additionally, a number of other services have been sunset as well, including File Share in all of the aforementioned games as well as Service Records, Player Customization, and Challenges in Halo: Reach and Halo 4.

In the days and hours leading up to the closure of the servers, many Halo fans flocked back to these titles and entered matchmaking for one last time. Some helped fellow fans get their final missing achievements, while others simply made truces with the enemy and posed for large group screenshots. Many also filled Custom Games lobbies and played classic custom Halo modes like Duck Hunt (thankfully, Custom Games and non-matchmade Firefight lobbies are still available since they use a peer-to-peer connection).

Source: Xbox Game Studios Microsoft and 343 Industries' official breakdown of what features have been sunset. (Image credit: Source: Xbox Game Studios)

Halo 3 and Halo: Reach in particular were some of the most popular online shooter games during their heyday, and many players consider the period between 2007-2011 — the years in which Halo 3 and Halo: Reach were at the height of their popularity — to be a golden age for multiplayer gaming. Halo 3: ODST's Firefight mode was also praised for being one of the best PvE horde modes ever made, and Halo 4 was arguably, graphics-wise, the most impressive shooter on the Xbox 360.

It's truly sad to see support for these legendary games go, but at least matchmaking for these titles lives on in Halo: The Master Chief Collection (MCC). The MCC combines Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 into one complete package that includes brand new cosmetic unlocks and gameplay features (you can turn these off if you'd like, allowing you to experience a more authentic version of these games). It's easily one of the best Xbox shooters available, and we can't recommend it enough.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.