Xbox Live 1.0 permanently shuts down today

[UPDATE] Thursday now final day of online play for original Xbox games, be they disc based, downloaded, or Xbox Originals downloaded onto 360; service still online after presumed midnight deadline passes.

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[UPDATE] As Thursday began, many people were actively playing the original Xbox Live, hoping to see it take its proverbial final breath. But when the chimes of midnight struck--nothing happened. It seems Microsoft has decided to add a twist to the proceedings.

"We aren't saying exactly when we'll be flipping the switch," wrote Xbox Live operations manager Eric Neustadter on the Xbox Live Operations Blog.

Using his his Gamertag "e," the veteran developer also reminisced about the soon to be gone service, saying: "It's the end of an era, and there’s definitely an odd vibe in the air at Xbox HQ right now. Re-Volt, Ghost Recon, MechAssault, RTCW, Halo 2 and more--we'll miss you!"

[The original story is below]

April 15 is rued by many in the US as the day they must file their taxes. However, the date will live in infamy worldwide for diehard online players of original Xbox games, who will find themselves locked out of Xbox Live as of 12:01 a.m. PDT tonight.

"It lives now…only in my memory."

The move will end online 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 also lose their online modes. Any offline single-player modes will still function normally, and single-player games with no Xbox Live component will be unaffected.

"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," Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten said in a statement in February.

"Finally, I can go on that scuba trip to Belize!"

Xbox Live began in 2002 on the original Xbox and was the most robust online network of the last generation of consoles. In 2010, it will end as one of the last relics of Microsoft's first console, which was discontinued in 2006.

Since the original Xbox went the way of the Dodo, the first version of Xbox Live was used primarily by players of Halo 2, released in 2004. As one of the first hugely popular non-PC first-person shooters, the game apparently sustained enough of a user base for Microsoft to maintain its legacy online service.

This year, though, the company finally decided the older service was no longer worth maintaining. One theory is that to prepare for the May 3 Halo: Reach beta, Microsoft must do some behind-the-scenes retooling of the service that could not be performed while Xbox Live 1.0 was still up and running.

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