The PC version of the original Halo was actually pretty strong, all things considered. Fun fact: it was the first Halo game anywhere to have official online multiplayer. Halo 2, however, didn’t manage such a sterling performance. Mainly, it was meant to be Windows Vista’s killer app, and Vista – at least, at launch – just let people with a desire to kill. As a result of that exclusivity, Master Chief’s Covenant-bomb-giving-back-est adventure went largely ignored and was left to the ravages of time – which brings us to today. According to Microsoft, it’s now got 20 players. Yes, 20 – concurrently, at least. Unsurprisingly, they’ve declared it time to pull the plug.
The big M explained the situation in a weekly Halo bulletin:
“We’re sad to report that the service end-date for Halo 2 PC Multiplayer will be February 15, 2013. We’ve been monitoring the population for months, and it’s been peaking consistently at approximately 20 players or less. Those that own this game can continue to enjoy multiplayer over LAN after that date; however our network services will be turned off at that time. We love you, Halo 2 PC, and you will live forever in our hearts.”
So then, that’s that, I suppose. It’s a bit odd to see something that was – at one point in PC gaming’s past – such a cataclysmically controversial state of affairs end with such a whimper. But then, I guess it just goes to show how much things have changed. At the time, Microsoft’s flippant treatment of PC was emblematic of a larger, industry-wide mentality. Now, though, seeing them do the same thing with Skulls of the Shogun and a halfhearted, Xbox-branded “Microsoft Studios Play” platform is completely baffling to everyone except Microsoft.
So then, Halo 2’s gone, and – for the most part – so is a rather dark chapter in the PC gaming history books. Good riddance, I say.