Seeking to benefit the Xbox LIVE community, Marc Whitten, the General Manager of Xbox Live in Microsoft, announced that they will “discontinue the Xbox LIVE service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals” in a letter to the 23-million strong Xbox LIVE community yesterday. This has been a long time coming, and was discussed openly during both the 2009 and 2010 CES. Marc Whitten announced the final date in his letter as well, as April 15, 2010, the day when Microsoft will pull the plug on Xbox Original consoles and v1 games, to “provide the greatest benefit to the Xbox LIVE community”.
The reasons will not come as a shock to regular Xbox LIVE gamers, who will know that v1 games (most played of which was HALO 2), were “coded to be limited to hundred friends”, and that limit has been carried over to the 360, and the current Xbox LIVE. LIVE users have been requesting for an increase in this limit for years, but Microsoft was unable to do so without alienating a large fraction of the players, who still used v1 games. Another feature that will now be possible to implement is the future integration of Xbox LIVE on phones with Windows Mobile, which will be called Xbox Live Games on the phone.
Users affected by this should not worry too much, as there are alternative platforms, such as XBConnect, that enable LIVE like gaming. Marc Whitten also promised that users “directly impacted by this change” are encouraged to check their “LIVE messages and associated e-mail account over the coming weeks for more details and opportunities”.