A small group of hard-core Halo 2 players is still unwilling to let go of its beloved game.
On April 15, Microsoft turned off access to its popular Xbox Live service to anyone using an original Xbox. But for this small group of Halo 2 devotees--said by IGN to be 12 people--losing the ability to play the game online isn't an option.
That's why each member of the group has kept his or her Xbox continually logged into Xbox Live and Halo 2 (as my colleague Don Reisinger wrote about earlier this week.) According to IGN, "The group has shrunk noticeably since [April 15], with several players experiencing console freezes and disconnections. It's been determined if any one of them are signed off of Live for any reason they can no longer reconnect."
But Microsoft is also applauding the players' efforts to stay logged into Live. On Friday, Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, tweeted his encouragement: "To those noble folk keeping halo2 alive: we see you, and we salute you."
As a result, IGN reported, each of the 12 will be given codes for access to the beta of the forthcoming Halo: Reach, the latest iteration of the mega-hit franchise.
This is a fun and rare case of a company, in this case Microsoft, making a fair and understandable decision yet being willing to accommodate the few customers who are going out of their way to show loyalty to a discontinued product. It's nice to see, and I think that Microsoft will likely garner a lot of good will in the video gaming community for allowing these stalwarts to keep on doing their Halo 2 thing.
The question now is: How long can these 12 people hold out? In a post on the (Halo developer) Bungie forums, one of the players made it clear he and the others are in for the long haul.
"We will keep playing until we are all forcibly removed," Halo 2 player Joe Campbell wrote. "It could be by Microsoft, Bungie, our Xbox's overheating or just lagging out. Not for competition, not for a prize, but for the love and memory of Halo 2."
You go, guys.