Halo 2 players better get their last frags in. At midnight, Microsoft announced that it is ceasing support for all original Xbox games, including digital copies of Xbox Originals that were bought for the Xbox 360. Disc-based Xbox games optimized for the Xbox 360, such as Halo 2, will lose their online modes on that date. Any offline single-player modes will still function normally, and single-player games with no online component will be unaffected.
"On April 15, we will discontinue the Xbox Live service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals," Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten said in a statement. "I want to start by saying this isn’t a decision we made lightly, but after careful consideration, it is clear this will provide the greatest benefit to the Xbox Live community." Currently, Xbox Live has over 23 million users.
Without going into too much detail, Whitten said the reason behind the cessation of original Xbox support was that Microsoft "need[s] to make changes to the service that are incompatible with our original Xbox v1 games." Whitten said that Microsoft would be contacting players "directly impacted" by the loss of service via e-mail to discusses "more details and opportunities," but he did not go into specifics. "We view you as a partner in this process," he concluded.
Xbox Live began in 2002 on the original Xbox and was the most robust online network of the last generation of consoles. NFL Fever was the first game on the service, and online play boosted the popularity of such games as MechAssault and Project Gotham Racing 2. However, it was Halo 2 that became the most popular original Xbox title on Xbox Live. The game is still played on it and has been for over five years since its November 2004 release. The original Xbox ceased production in 2006.