Friday, February 5, 2010

[WTF?] Microsoft shutting down Xbox Live services for Original Xbox games

In a move that first got a raised eyebrow from me, and then 10 seconds later an "Ah ha!" moment befell me, Microsoft is shutting down Xbox Live services for Xbox games and systems. That would mean that Original Xbox titles won't be getting their daily juicing of Xbox Live, but would that also mean that no more OXB titles wouldn't be hitting the service? I'm fairly sure you can upload some good Xbox games onto the service and not hamper it. Would those OXB games that were downloaded (all 7 of them) cease to exist or function? There are some questions that Microsoft has yet to answer.

The good part about this is that Microsoft can do two things now, both of which they said development or implementation couldn't proceed past planning phase because of Xbox Live service on the Xbox: a friend list of over 100 people and "mobile tie-ins," as Engadget puts it. What would constitute a "mobile tie-in," you say? Remember Microsoft talking about a service called Xbox Live Anywhere, where you could access your XBL account from your mobile, check on your friends, compare achievements on the go, and, yes, play certain games - your Xbox Live Arcade games - that can be played without joysticks or need the fast responsiveness of contextual buttons (see: Peggle)? Yea, that little guy. Well, development on that can now proceed and, hopefully, get an official iPhone app over than feature-lacking or slow-as-all-hell apps. What? Microsoft has given us Seadragon and Bing apps, so asking for a Live Anywhere app? Yea, I can see the problem, but why wouldn't they make one for the iPho...oh yea, that's right, the whole Apple-Microsoft thing. Right.

Read Xbox Live's General Manager Marc Whitten's letter in regards to the matter past the break.

[Via Engadget]
[Source Major Nelson's Blog]

Dear Xbox LIVE Members,

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. 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.

Seven years ago we laid out our vision for the connected console when we launched Xbox LIVE. We believed then that the power of the Internet to connect people would revolutionize living room entertainment. It started with amazing multiplayer games, and we’ve since seen that bet pay off again and again with the launches of Xbox 360, Marketplace, Netflix and powerful social features like Facebook, Twitter and None of this would have been possible without the success of LIVE as a multiplayer gaming network.

There’s no greater example of the power of the Xbox LIVE community than the “Halo” franchise. “Halo 2” has had an amazing run on LIVE, with a dedicated community more than five years after launch and well into the next generation of consoles. It has fundamentally changed the way we play video games. And while it’s difficult to see that run come to an end, the “Halo” franchise continues to act as the benchmark for multiplayer gaming in this generation, with “Halo 3,” “Halo 3: ODST” and soon “Halo: Reach” on Xbox 360.

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. To reach our aspiration, we need to make changes to the service that are incompatible with our original Xbox v1 games. We will contact the Xbox LIVE members directly impacted by this change and if this includes you, I encourage you to check your LIVE messages and associated e-mail account over the coming weeks for more details and opportunities. We view you as a partner in this process.

We’ll share more details soon, but in the meantime I want to assure you that the best is yet to come for Xbox LIVE. 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. The LIVE community is the driving force behind everything we do, and it’s because of the community that ground-breaking experiences on Xbox continue to be possible.

See you on LIVE,

Marc Whitten