Microsoft is tired of answering this question: when can I have more than 100 friends on Xbox Live?
The answer is soon. Microsoft made the most significant move in this direction yet, announcing the dismantling of the original Xbox Live servers. On one hand, unless Microsoft develops an interesting alternative (say, a downloadable version), Halo 2 will no longer be playable over Xbox Live. On the other hand, it removes the tech obstacle preventing Microsoft from lifting the annoying friends cap.
The company mentioned the impact of Halo 2 in a statement this morning.
"There’s no greater example of the power of the Xbox LIVE community than the Halo franchise," said Xbox Live general manager Marc Whitten on the Gamerscore blog. "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."
I last pressed Microsoft on this point at CES earlier this year.
"Phew," sighed Xbox group product manager Aaron Greenberg. "God, I've been answering this question for so long. It's something that the team's looking at. It's more complicated than you would think. I know you have actually covered yourself in some detail and I think it is something that we're hoping to address. Exactly when that happens I can't say because there's some technical requirements tied to it. But I can tell you that, just like consumers, I share the same frustration and I, too, want more than 100 friends, and so know that we all want that and that we are working on getting that fixed."
Whitten promised to share "more details soon." One of those details will be the ability to -- finally -- stop unfairly removing friends from your Xbox Live friends list in order to make room for more.