To everyone who spent the last five years trying to forget the mess that was Halo 2 on PC: I apologize. February 15th will mark the final days of Halo 2 mulitplayer on PC, a service that few knew existed and even fewer still played. In an announcement, Halo Waypoint noted that the servers had a consistent peak of around twenty players, often times less, and that players will still be able to play multiplayer via LAN.
Halo 2 was launched on PC in 2007, two and a half years after its launch on Xbox. The game’s launch was marred with a lot of controversy stemming from Microsoft’s use of the title as a marketing tool to promote two of its worst received products: Windows Vista and Games for Windows Live. In an effort to force users into upgrading to Windows Vista, DirectX 10 was made into a Vista exclusive, meaning games like Halo 2 which did not support earlier versions would not run on computers running Windows XP or earlier. If Microsoft had hoped that more developers would jump on the bandwagon and develop DirectX 10 exclusive games, they were sorely mistaken: Only a couple of developers were dense enough to release their games to such a limited market, and they were either owned or controlled by Microsoft.
Games For Windows Live was Microsoft’s attempt to have some sort of PC version of Xbox Live, which was also critically panned when Microsoft decided to charge a subscription fee similar to Xbox Live. The subscription was rather quickly removed, and Microsoft has been working since then to improve the public image of Games for Windows Live, a name which still invokes boycotts and petitions whenever a developer signs on to it.
(Source: Halo Waypoint)