One of the big worries that a lot of gamers have had about this newer generation of gaming centered on all digital content is that once the servers go down then the game goes kaput. Well, we're seeing that happen in real time as one of those games, Forza Horizon, is set to go kaput from the Xbox Store.
Over on the official Forza Motorsport website, Brian Ekberg from Microsoft's community management team explained that in light of launching Forza Horizon 3 and its community, Microsoft is seeking to end the original Forza Horizon in late October...
On October 20, the original Forza Horizon for Xbox 360 will reach "End of Life" status. That means that the game and its associated DLC will no longer be available for purchase. Players who own Forza Horizon before that date will still be able to download and play the game and its associated content as normal. After that date, however, Forza Horizon and its associated DLC will no longer be for sale.
As a gamer, I'm sure there are a host of questions that come along with this sort of news. For instance, when they say that players who own Forza Horizon will still be able to download and play the game -- along with being able to access the game's DLC -- the first thing that comes to mind is if online play will be affected? Having the game reach "end of life" status usually means that online servers go down shortly after it's pulled from the digital store shelves.
Does this mean that gamers will still be able to play on the servers with friends and rivals alike? Or will the online services shut down and gamers will only have the offline mode to play? The post from Ekberg doesn't really go into any real details about how Microsoft will be dealing with the end of life cycle for the original Forza Horizon.
Another thing that I'm curious about is how this affects the backwards compatibility for Xbox One owners. When Xbox 360 games reach their end of life status, does that mean that you'll no longer be able to access the game's online component on the Xbox One as well?
Questions, questions, questions.
It seems like there's a lot of mystery surrounding the closure of one of the Xbox 360's more original online racing titles, despite the fact that October 20th is just under a month away.
For some, Steam titles when they reach their end of life status and the developer no longer supports the online component, if the game is an online-only title then it's sometimes removed from the Steam store. On a few occasions that even means being removed from the player's library. However, if there is an offline component then sometimes a game will be removed from the Steam store but still made available to play and download from the library, which is what Forza Horizon's scenario sounds like.
I'm sure Microsoft will have more answers regarding the closure of the first Forza Horizon. They're likely betting on most people being engrossed with Forza Horizon 3 to bother to pay much attention to the first game, but as we move closer and closer to that all digital future, I'm sure a lot of gamers are curious how the end of life effect will work for some of these digital-only games.