Microsoft has announced that, as of April 15th, owners of the original Xbox games console will no longer be allowed to play online.
In a move that is bound to anger millions of gamers, teh company's Marc Whitten also said that legacy games from the long-in-the-tooth console would no longer be supported by the company's Live service, even if they were played on the latest Xbox 360 hardware.
In an official blog post, Whitten said: "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."
Microsoft joined the online gaming revolution seven years ago with the lauch of Xbox Live, but it has struggled to see any great financial returns from the paid-for service. Sony rained on the company's parade somewhat when it announced that it would be offering Playstation 3 users similar services for nothing.
"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," said Whitton.
With 23 million subscribers, the online service is currently creaking under the weight of bandwidth use and Microsoft's plans for the future are entirely focussed on the latest console and games.
"We’ll continue to evolve the service with features and experiences that harness the full power of Xbox 360," said Whitton. "To reach our aspiration, we need to make changes to the service that are incompatible with our original Xbox v1 games."
Subscribers will be contacted about the impact on their gaming via email over the coming weeks.
We predict a violent backlash from angry Halo addicts armed to the teeth with deadly alien weaponry.