Forbes is the most capped player in world sevens series history, playing in 89 World Series tournaments and a record 512 games.
The 34-year-old won 26 tournaments and six World Series titles with the All Blacks Sevens.
He also captained New Zealand to gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and to the World Cup title in 2013.
Forbes was named International Sevens Player of the Year in 2008 and has been the recipient of the Richard Crawshaw Memorial Trophy for Sevens Player of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby Awards in 2007, 2008 and 2014, the most wins by any player.
Forbes said it was time to move on to other challenges.
"The last 11 years with the All Blacks Sevens has been an awesome ride that I've loved every minute of.
"I've built life-long friendships with players, coaches and management and got to experience the high of success on the international stage. I want to thank all those who have helped and supported me on the way, from club level right through to the national side.
"Sevens means you're on the road a lot. While I got to travel and represent my country, sacrifices were made at home. I want to thank my wife and kids and family and friends for their enormous support, and I am looking forward to being around a lot more.
"Today starts my new life after footy. I'm looking forward to finishing my Master's degree, which examines what makes successful coaching from an athlete's perspective, and my goal is to one day coach a national side."
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said Forbes' retirement was the end of an era.
"DJ has been an integral part of an incredibly successful All Blacks Sevens outfit that defined the way the game is played. His natural leadership saw him take on the captaincy of the team during a period of triumph and his knowledge of sevens and calm wisdom will be sorely missed.
"His success in sevens is without peer. He's been a consistent and dominant force on the world stage for so long, achieving nearly every title and accolade sevens has going during his playing career.
"DJ is one of the great guys of rugby. Dominant on the field and respected off it. He's has been a great ambassador both nationally and internationally for sevens and has given a huge amount of his time help grow its profile. We are sad to see him go but wish him and his family all the best for the next stage in his career."
All Blacks Sevens Head Coach Clark Laidlaw said Forbes was an inspiration to the team.
"DJ's contribution to sevens has been as big as any. His consistency of performance over a long-playing career is unheralded. What impresses me is DJ's ability to always play at his very best and lead by example, regardless of the circumstances. We wish him the best of luck for the future."
Photo: PHOTOSPORT DJ Forbes.