Microsoft has announced plans to discontinue the six titles in its iconic Internet Games Suite. Introduced in 1996, it began with Hearts, Spades, Checkers, and Backgammon, and it's these that will get the boot.
The company has decided to focus its resources elsewhere, on more recent technologies, rather than propping up old experiences. For Windows XP, games will be unplayable by the end of the month, while Windows 7 will have until January 22, 2020.
“We truly appreciate all the time and passion you've put into Microsoft Internet Games. This has been a great community,” said Microsoft in a statement. “However, the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources towards more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences”
The full list of unsupported games is as follows:
- Internet Backgammon (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Checkers (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Spades (XP/ME, 7)
- Internet Hearts (XP/ME)
- Internet Reversi (XP/ME)
- MSN Go (7)
Though it's sad to see these games go, few people will complain about Microsoft's commitment to them. They've been available for free since their inception, a level of support you rarely see in gaming these days.
Internet Games were accessible via a shortcut on Windows XP, ME, and 7 desktops, which would launch them in a dedicated window. They were eventually superseded by MSNGames on browsers, which introduced a number of other titles. At points, it was also known as MSN Gaming Zone. The browser-based portal still exists.
Microsoft more modern Casual Games suite includes Solitaire, Soduku, Mahjong, and more, but is yet to include the above games. However, users have been able to vote on which games Microsoft choose since 2015, with Hearts one of the options. It's likely these titles will launch on Windows 10 at some point.
You can also play Spades and other card games such as Solitaire and Hearts directly in your web browser on World of Card games.