|The main thing to note here is that the online playability of these games, not offline playability is the thing that is getting the axe. People automatically assumed that because of the announcement, Microsoft was going the same way as Sony and removing backwards compatibility. This however is not the case. Fans can still play their favorite Xbox games, just not online. This announcement opens the door for new features on Xbox Live that were not possible due to Microsoft still supporting Live play for Xbox v1. There is much speculation as to what these new features are going to be, many are hoping friends lists larger than 100, but nothing official has been announced in regards to what those features are.
Many say that this announcement and decision was made way too early, but what many feel to realize is that support of legacy devices, and yes, the original Xbox is considered a legacy device, will just impede future progress. There are also fears that when the next generation of the Xbox console emerges that the same decision will be made, and sad to say that this is probably true, but not for a number of years.
The Xbox 360 debuted back in November, 2005. Since that time, Microsoft has supported Live on both consoles. This gave gamers the choice of either upgrading their current console and enjoying the better features available with that console, or to stay true to course and continue to play the games that they love. Fast forward to current day, a little over 4 years later, and the decision is made to stop supporting Live for those that still play on the original console, or still prefer to get their game on in games such as Halo 2 and Star Wars Battlefront. Yes, I know it's sad, but all good things must come to an end at some point.
So, what does this change mean for us Live users on the Xbox 360 side? While there is no real info on what changes may come, many seem to speculate larger friends list. While this may be useful to many, it's not really all that important. I personally have a couple Friends of Friends lists that keeps me in touch with people that play certain games. This technically allows me to reach over 100 friends if they were full enough. I honestly don't believe that increased friends list sizes is going to be the biggest change we see. If it is, then Microsoft has unfortunately taken a step backwards in their decision, but as we all know, Microsoft is about moving forward as they have shown in the past by dropping support for older operating systems. While I really have no speculation as to what the changes coming are, I suspect that they will be much bigger than the 100 friends cap. Maybe this decision had a lot to do with Natal expected out later this year.
A few gamers that I spoke to at various gaming websites about this change all expressed differing opinions, some good, and some bad. While they understand the need to move forward, they feel that Microsoft has not given any consideration to those that still play on a regular basis on the original Xbox. Many seem to fear that some of the new features will go along the lines of more apps like Facebook and Twitter. Yes, we may see more applications coming to the dash, but I don't believe that's why a decision of this magnitude was made.
Now a note to those users of the original Xbox that are horrified at this announcement, let me remind you that before Halo 2 came out and the big game to play was Halo:CE, there was no Live support for that game, as Live didn't exist at the time, yet many players found ways to play with other players from other areas. One of the tools I personally remember using was XbConnect. So for those that still want to get some good old Halo or even Halo 2 gaming in after Microsoft nixes the support of Live on the console and all titles affiliated, there are options. Yes, I know it's not as good as Live, but at least there is an outlet.
Many people ask, 'Why don't they just recode the games for the Xbox 360?'. Well, in order to do that, the original company, if it still exists has to be willing to put the time and money into a game to recode it for the Xbox 360, and spend the money to distribute it. With Halo 2, things get a little complicated. As we all know, Bungie still exists, however the upcoming Halo Reach is their last Halo title before 343 Studios takes over. If Halo 2 were to be remade for the Xbox 360, who would be in charge of this?
Now, as I said, I fully support Microsoft's decision to end support for Live for all original Xbox games and consoles. This does include all DLC affiliated with those games. What I don't support is that with the announcement, all DLC for those games seem to have been removed from the marketplace. My question is if the date is still 2 months away, why was all of the DLC removed immediately. They could have gone about this a bit better by stating that all DLC would no longer be available after a certain date, in order to give users a chance to get that DLC that maybe they've been holding out on.
As I said, I believe this decision was the correct one for Microsoft to make. They may not have gone about it completely in the right direction in regards to DLC being removed, but it will definitely allow things to move forward. And remember, for those still wanting to get some Halo 2 or Battlefront in, there is still time as April 15th is just over 2 months away. After that date, users do have options to continue playing. XbConnect is just one of the many resources out there for gamers to utilize. I for one look forward to seeing what is coming in the next several months.