For a while now, Microsoft has allowed people to purchase and download original Xbox games (appropriately named Xbox Originals) on Xbox Live, in order for them to be played on their Xbox 360 console. As you'd imagine, this support could only go so far, and now it's official – according to The Gamerscore Blog, Microsoft will be ending support for the originals, beginning April 15.
What this means is that you'll no longer be able to purchase and play some of the games that made the Xbox famous, such as Halo, via Xbox Live; it also means that you'll no longer be able to play multiplayer original Xbox games over the Internet, as the online support is ending. If you have the game disk, you won't be able to compete against others on Xbox Live, though services such as system link will, of course, be just fine. Microsoft employee Marc Whitten has stated that there'll be some additional details regarding this coming soon, as well as some "opportunities," (whatever that may mean) as the company views users as 'partners' in this situation.
Whitten also stated that this hasn't been an easy decision for Microsoft to make, so why did it have to be done? As Engadget noted, the original Xbox games give the Live service its 100 friend limit, which is a common complaint amongst members. That, combined with a range of other issues, is holding back Xbox Live – in general, it will mean a better service in the long run, even if Microsoft has to take a bit of heat for it in the meantime. If you regularly play original Xbox games online, you'd best get in as much playtime as you can now, before things come to a close on April 15.