Bungie: Halo integral to Xbox Live success

Studio manager Harold Ryan says Microsoft's online platform "wouldn't have made it" without sci-fi shooter series.

Without Halo, Xbox Live may not have survived. That's according to Bungie studio manager Harold Ryan, who recounted the run up to Halo 2's launch in a GamesIndustry International feature published today, which is 10 years to the day after Xbox Live debuted on November 15, 2002.

"I think Xbox Live wouldn't have made it. I don't think the Xbox would be where it is today without Bungie and without Halo," Ryan said. "As a group, we provided both technical and creative guidance and thought leadership that really pushed the limits. We weren't just a game developer using the service. We were integrated in the design of the service and how it worked. Systems for groups and matchmaking and skill ranking were all things that were pushed the furthest and the hardest by us.”

Xbox Live has grown significantly since its debut in 2002. The platform currently boasts 40 million members, with Xbox Live Gold users logging an average of 84 hours on the service per month. Additionally, games are only one part of the service.

Microsoft announced in March that gamers in the United States spend more time with Xbox Live entertainment applications like Netflix and ESPN than they do playing multiplayer games.

Microsoft is even sending select Xbox Live subscribers a free custom Xbox 360 console to mark the service's 10-year anniversary.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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0 comments
Mabrry
Mabrry

I can understand this, Halo really has revolutionized video games. Not that other games haven't, but after getting introduced to the Halo universe with 3 back in 2007, I played the other two immediately and fell in love with the series. And with Halo 4 being better than ever, I really can say that Halo is my favorite franchise. (Along with the Souls series from From Software. ;) ) 

MrHatnClogs
MrHatnClogs

Those were the days, staying up till two in the morning, or sometimes all night playing Halo 2 or Splinter Cell PT.

Falru
Falru

As much as this sounds like a sore loser's parting words, I have to admit it's probably true. I activated XBox Live back then solely because I wanted to play Halo 2 online.

 

Ten years later, I really don't give a shit about Halo (or any other generic blockbuster shooter for that matter) anymore, but I have been using XBox Live almost continually ever since for all my other games.

ahpuck
ahpuck

 Ghost Recon 2, Summit Strike was my favorite xbox game. I played that game to death. I didn't play Halo till after the 360 was released.

snakes3425
snakes3425

It's called a Killer App, that's a golden rule for any system or service launch, Xbox LIVE wasn't the first online service, you had Sega Channel and SegaNET back in the 90s and 2000s, but they all lacked a Killer App for the orginal Xbox LIVE it was HALO 1 and 2, Ghost Recon, and MechAssault

skullomania2
skullomania2

So true. If it wasn't for HALO 2  and GEARS I would not have an Xbox.  Although Gears over time has become a laggy suckfest over the years, Halo has remained a staple to Xbox lives success.  And I must admit that I really enjoy Halo 4.

gun_blade25
gun_blade25

Mass Effect was why I bought an xBox, Halo is why I got xBox Live.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Mech Assault was huge before Bungie did anything on XBL. Crimson Skies as well. Sounds like Bungie is bothered that Halo 4 is much better than anything they could've done.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

In fact, Sega GT Online (an online only game) was released almost a full year before Halo 2 came out.  Xbox Live was popular - Halo 2 just exploded it...but the service was definitely gaining momentum.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

While it's true that Halo 2's matchmaking & ranking system was top notch and innovative for it's time, other games were excellent as well.  Rainbow Six 3 & Ghost Recon were what initially sold me to go Live when that came out.  Project Gotham 2, Midtown Madness 3 were other stand out titles for Live as well.  Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Soldier of Fortune 2, Crimson Skies (seriously, where's the sequel already???), and Counter Strike also had a huge fanbase.

 

I still wish I could play original Xbox games online.  I'd kill for some Rainbow Six 3 games online.  Vegas just wasn't the same.

tightwad34
tightwad34

The only reason this comment is made is because they want credit for something they gave(or sold) away. Otherwise it would be a very reduntant thing to say. If it weren't for Halo and, god forbid, COD, then how popular would XBL be? Not saying it wouldn't be, but how many less users would it have?

steelmouth
steelmouth

i get a felling bungie is still crying over the spilled milk that is halo

steelmouth
steelmouth

damn i hate living in a 3rd world country am missing out on LIVE

Flint247
Flint247

Xbox Live is the best online service for console gaming, in my opinion.

OneSamTwoCups
OneSamTwoCups

Even if it is true, that's a bold and egotistical statement.

joSplicer
joSplicer

Too bad they almost killed Xbox Live by releasing Halo: Reach.

salvucci91
salvucci91

A bit of a bold statement, saying it would have flopped without it.

akdiuuuryttt
akdiuuuryttt

yes but halo 2 was nooby and had a crap campaign. halo 1 for life

commando1992
commando1992

Still don't get why Bungie gave up the largest Xbox IP to do...what, exactly? 

killa32130
killa32130

Got Xbox live for Halo 2, too bad we can't play it online anymore : /

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

hmmm i only played halo 2 because of its is all people seemed to want to play the same as now with cod. but i feel halo 2 was the weakest gameplay wise the original was awesome the 3 rd game was awesome reach is awesome and loving halo 4 so far. i think with out halo other games to play multiplayer would of stole all the thunder and got people logging on. but has halo was there and was a quality game its what got people logging on.

Evilbunz
Evilbunz

halo 2 - most played xbl game until gears of war launch. 

DrKill09
DrKill09

Naa...

 

Halo was a generic, mediocre shooter at best...

 

Well, then again, look at COD's success.  :P

Serpentes420
Serpentes420

While Bungie's claims are likely true (I don't know I had a PS2 instead of an XBOX) thing is that neither XBOX Live nor Halo have suffered from Bungie's lack of involvement.  Anyway good luck what is now called Bungie,  I really hope you put out something that makes me reconsider my Activision boycott, but somehow I doubt it, you only capture lightning in a bottle every so often.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

Back then, I was so focus on buying a Gamecube but all of a sudden, I ended up buying Xbox only because I wanted totry something new other then Nintendo and Sony, boy I was blown away when I play Halo and I was glad that I did not buy Nintendo Gamecube but I did buy one later along. this is how I look at it, Half-Life change the way we play FPS, Goldeneye added MP and finally Halo Revolutionize FPS. Back then if it was not for Halo, Xbox as we know today would not exist and for all we know, this Gen would have been just Sony and Nintendo. If anybody says that MS is Milking Halo, then you need to understand that Halo is MS game just like Mario is Nintendo.

VALikimlav
VALikimlav

I agree. I still played Halo 2 on the 360. Good job, Bungie.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

This is all too true. I, among many of my friends on XBL, first gave it a shot through Halo 2. If H2 hadn't released and gotten as popular via online play as it had, I can say with absolute certainty that the Xbox would've been the next Dreamcast. Quite frankly, Microsoft owes their console success to Halo. Period.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

 @Vodoo I think that they are thinking about stuff like party system, whgich just about EVERY live game has got today. It started with Halo 2. The xbox did have other games, like the ones you mentioned, and Counter-strike. God I played a LOT of counter-strike on the original xbox!

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

 @GamerMani I don't see how you can even compare the two, when XBL is an online service and Steam is a digital distribution service...

santinegrete
santinegrete

 @steelmouth Create an hotmail account and when they ask for your location tell them you are on the states, and European contry listed, or Mexico. You can play XboxLive that way and purchase dlc and games that way.

wasakaka
wasakaka

 @commando1992

 To do something. Anything. After doing the same thing for ten years, anybody would get tired, (sick of it) to say the least. Creative people need to do different things.

POWAHOG
POWAHOG

@jtthegame316 How was halo 2 weakest in gameplay? Spamming duel wielded weapons and flying around with the energy sword's massive range was fun as hell

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

 @VALikimlav Agree but I'm waiting to see if 343 will make Halo 2 Anniversary HD since I enjoy the MP.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

 @yearssomuch While Halo was amazing on the original Xbox - if that's all you played...you sorely missed out on some other fantastic games.

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

 @santinegrete  @Vodoo That game was wicked and I'm hoping that their will be a sequel but I might have a better chance of one my cats to grow wings and fly.

santinegrete
santinegrete

 @realguitarhero5   Maybe because Xboxlive already does digital distribution of games. But I think he is being a fanboy and thinks we have to pay to play multiplayer with Steam games, just like him.

Jake518
Jake518

 @wasakaka  @commando1992 Agree absolutely. While I never had an X-Box and owned a Halo game, I can still understand Bungie wanting to do something new. As in my case as a PS player, Naughty Dog has been switching it up: Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, Uncharted, and now they're doing The Last of Us.

SolidTy
SolidTy

 @EasyComeEasyGo  They will, it's easy money.

Last year we got Halo Anniversary, this year Halo 4, probably next year we get Halo 2 HD.

 

A shame they didn't give us Halo 1/2 in an HD pack for $40, but it makes more money selling them separate.