Twelve years after Xbox discontinued support for the original Xbox, the fan project known as Insignia aims to bring back Xbox Live support.
If Insignia works as promised, it will launch with support for up to 25 games, granting long abandoned titles the ability to play online again and reviving them for folks who hold the original Xbox near and dear to their hearts.
Xbox Live was an innovative service launched for Xbox in 2002 and enabled games like Halo 2 to be played online. Microsoft eventually shut down support for the service in 2010, although it continued as part of the services and support for Xbox’s successor, the Xbox 360.
Insignia is effectively a replacement for Xbox Live on the original Xbox. It allows you to connect your original Xbox into the internet and connect through the Insignia servers to play online games with those who are also connected through Insignia.
The beta launch date is about a couple of weeks away and they’ve just added a few more games to their launch lineup, with more being added every month. Some of the newest additions don’t support online multiplayer yet, but their leaderboard support has been implemented, allowing players to compete for high scores with those around the world.
Insignia’s launch lineup below:
Cabela’s Deer Hunt: 2004 Season (Leaderboards Only)
Cabela’s Deer Hunt: 2005 Season (Leaderboards Only)
Call of Duty: Finest Hour
Colin McRae Rally 2004 (Leaderboards Only)
Conker: Live and Reloaded
Crimson Skies Demo
Dance Dance Revolution: Ultramix
Dead or Alive Ultimate
Ford Racing 2 (Leaderboards Only)
MechAssault Xbox Live Demo
Midtown Madness 3
MotoGP: Online Demo
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II
Star Wars: Jedi Academy
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
SWAT – Global Strike Team (Leaderboards Only)
Tetris Worlds Online
Whacked! Trial Version
Xbox Live Arcade
Insignia’s beta begins on the 15th of November and signups are available on the Insignia website. So far, about 7000 people have requested to join the service and about a thousand systems have been registered with a number of gamertags. Those looking to sign up for Insignia can look into it through their website.
Modern Vintage Gamer has also looked into Insignia’s closed beta and it honestly looks promising. However, Halo 2 is noticeably absent from the list of supported launch titles, and this is because Halo 2 apparently uses more services beyond Xbox Live itself, and will require more development time to work around. The Insignia developers didn’t want to delay the launch for a single game, even though it’s probably the most iconic Xbox Live game during its time.
Insignia is obviously not an official service provided by Microsoft, but the prospect of being able to boot up old games on a two decade old console to play online multiplayer is quite the intriguing, albeit novel idea. I’m very much excited for those looking forward to reliving the original Xbox’s glory days though, very much hope this project continues on.