Nine years after the launch of the original Xbox gaming console, Microsoft's Marc Whitten, Xbox Live general manager, announced via a blog post that the company would discontinue the Xbox LIVE service for original Xbox consoles and games, including Xbox v1 games playable on Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals. The change goes into effect on April 15. "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," Whitten wrote.
Xbox Live is a fee-based online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service and currently boasts more than 23 million members. Whitten outlined the evolution of the service and the reasons behind the decision to end support for the original Xbox in a blog post addressed to Xbox Live users:
"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 Last.fm. 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."