When Live launched on only the first anniversary of the Xbox, November 15, 2002, no one knew quite what to make of it. In a world where most relied on dial-up connections to the Net, it required broadband access. And despite only supporting a handful of titles, it asked users for an annual subscription fee. The inclusion of a headset and support for voice chat across all games topped things off. I remember our reactions were along the lines of "what are they thinking? Consoles are for single-player games. That's what they need to take on the PS2," and "everyone who wants to play online plays on PC and it's free."
Yet Live never once looked back. It certainly paid off. All those things that seemed like a gamble at the time we take for granted today. Sony and Nintendo both countered with online adapters but they floundered without a corresponding service on which to anchor support. They took steps to recover that lost ground in the current generation but Live continuously pushed forwards as well turning gamers into gamerscore slaves, revamping the service with the "new Xbox experience," and making the 360 into a conduit for NetFlix, LastFM, Twitter, and Facebook. For this move to end original Xbox access to be seen as a part of the Live success story it must spur the next evolution of the service -- and that's more than just expanding the friends list beyond the 100 member cap (though that's a good start).
So goodbye original Xbox Live. I haven't seen you in a long time but we had many good times together. I put Crimson Skies up there as probably my most fond memories from the service but obviously Halo 2 will be dominant in the eyes of many. And lest Shoe track me down who can forget the tense Spies vs. Mercs Splinter Cell matches? Yes, I've moved on but for anyone wanting to relive these and any other Xbox moments online the clock has started ticking. 68 days remain until the servers shut down and the Xbox book comes to a final close.
We covered some other stories around the Shack today as well:
- AvP Marine trailer
- L.A. Noire a PS3 exclusive no more, coming to Xbox 360 as well
- PS3 sales up in 2009
- Dino vs. Mech action coming in 'Primal Carnage'
- Just Cause 2 trailer
In preparation for Super Bowk weekend, New Orleans send Miami a 'Get Ready' letter
Spend enough time measuring and you'd still be hard pressed to match the tape measure ninja
A work of art that takes here today, gone tomorrow seriously: this sculpture connects to the Net and starts auctioning itself on eBay the moment you get it hooked up