Microsoft announced today it will shut down Xbox Live service for original Xbox consoles and games on April 15, 2010, a move it says "will allow us to continue evolving the Live service."
The termination of service includes all version one Xbox games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals. According to Xbox Live program manager Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb, the first step
in the process will be turning off automatic subscription renewals for users who only access Xbox Live via a first-gen console.
"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," said Xbox Live general manager Mark Whitten in a statement.
Notably, major earlier Xbox titles like Crimson Skies, Star Wars: Battlefront
, some Splinter Cell
games and Halo 2
will no longer be available for multiplayer play on Live -- "it's difficult to see that run come to an end," noted Whitten, pointing out that Halo 3, Halo: ODST
and the upcoming Halo: Reach
will still be available to fans.
Whitten says that changes will be coming to Xbox Live and its community of 23 million that will result in a loss of compatibility with original titles. "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," he says.
"To reach our aspiration, we need to make changes to the service that are incompatible with our original Xbox v1 games," he adds. Whitten promises that Microsoft will contact users "directly impacted" by the change via their account in the coming weeks with further information.
"We view you as a partner in this process," Whitten concludes.