Although users will still be able to redownload their previous purchases for the foreseeable future, Microsoft recently announced that after July 29, 2024, it will no longer be possible to buy any more games or DLC from the Xbox 360 Marketplace.
While many of these games will still be playable via other means, around 220 of them will essentially disappear forever, recent VGC analysis showed.
“There’s a list of, what 220 games that are not back compat, and I have that list and I’ve got it stapled on my forehead, and like, how can we make sure [you can play them still?],” he said.
“How many of those are on PC? 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 centre when all these decisions are made,” Spencer claimed.
“I will say for us that preservation that’s linked to only one piece of hardware is a challenge. Because there can be hardware love as well – people who love and want this device to do this forever – but mechanical things will break over time.
“But that’s why we gave people with this decision a year. Let’s say ‘hey, if you want to go buy things in the 360 store, we’re going to give you a year headstart, and you can go get those things’. 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.”
In March 2021, Sony announced plans to close the PS3, Vita and PSP digital stores, news that was met with widespread backlash due to the number of digital-only games that would no longer be made available.
The platform holder made a partial U-turn the following month, with Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan saying it realised it had made “the wrong decision” in planning to shut all three online marketplaces.
Nintendo has also faced criticism for its decision to close the Wii U and 3DS eShops in March 2023. The move resulted in around 1,000 digital-only games, some of which were exclusive to the systems, being removed for good with no way to acquire them legally in the future.