Microsoft takes steps for Xbox games

Microsoft has decided to stop supporting first-generation Xbox games and consoles on its Xbox Live service, Microsoft disclosed on Friday.

Microsoft “did not make this decision lightly,” the company’s Major Nelson blog said, but it’s apparently final: gamers who used the Xbox Live matchmaking service for games of “Halo,” for example, will have to find another way to connect with their friends. The prohibition also applies to Xbox games played on Xbox 360 consoles.

Why did Microsoft make the change? According to Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten, the company plans upgrades to the Live service that are simply incompatible with the older games and consoles.

Whitten did not reveal the proposed upgrades, but mentioned Microsoft’s Project Natal, scheduled to be rolled out by the holiday season of 2010. I believe we’ll look back on 2010 as a landmark year in gaming and home entertainment, and I couldn’t be more excited about what we have in store with “Project Natal” and LIVE,” Whitten wrote in a blog post.

Another news that Microsoft discontinuing Xbox LIVE for Xbox Gamers

On April 15, 2010, Microsoft plans to pull the plug on Xbox LIVE services for its original Xbox as well as online services for Xbox games playable on the Xbox 360. Microsoft’s Larry ‘Major Nelson’ Hryb broke the news on his blog and said the shutdown will commence with immediate discontinuation of auto-renewals for gamers still subscribed to the service through an original Xbox.

“While I can’t comment on the specifics, this change will allow us to continue evolving the LIVE service with new features and experiences that fully harness the power of Xbox 360 and the Xbox LIVE community,” wrote Hryb. “We did not make this decision lightly, but after careful consideration and review we realize that this decision will allow us unprecedented flexibility for future features.”

How does shutting down a naturally diminished branch of your online media service amount to “unprecedented” flexibility (i.e. “having no previous example”)? Will it finally embolden Microsoft to offer Xbox LIVE Gold service for free? Could it lead to a radical overhaul of the service, more elaborate than 2008’s glorified interface update? Any of those would arguably be “unprecedented.”

Impossible to say, since Microsoft isn’t, leaving this a funereal announcement–especially for those of you still hip to play Halo 2 online–slickly encapsulated in a vague promise to flip our lids at an undisclosed future moment.

Not that Microsoft’s obliged to continue a service like LIVE indefinitely. After all, it launched way back in November 2002, slightly more than seven years ago. It’s not like the company still supports DOS or Windows 3.1.

If that’s still a trifle vague, Xbox LIVE general manager Marc Whitten offers a lengthier community letter.

“Your Xbox LIVE community has grown to 23 million strong… And as we look down the road, we’ll continue to evolve the service with features and experiences that harness the full power of Xbox 360,” writes Whitten.

Source: PC World.

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