This past week has been tough for fans of classic Halo games, though warm with nostalgia. Xbox and 343 Industries officially ended support for Halo 3, Halo 4, and Halo Reach's multiplayer servers. Halo fans flocked to their game of choice for one last match before power was turned off on the servers forever. As everyone knows, however, fans rarely let servers go offline without a fight. Halo Reach players have managed to find a workaround, however temporary, through the game's Xbox 360 demo.


The long and short of it is that the Halo Reach multiplayer demo works. It's not a complicated scenario. Someone decided that, after the servers went down for the full Halo Reach game, they'd try their Halo Reach demo disk and found that matchmaking was still working. It's unclear if 343 simply forgot about turning these servers off, if it plans to leave them online, or what.

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The Halo Reach demo disc was released after the game first launched, offering Xbox 360 users a chance to try the game out before they purchased it. It not only includes a portion of the Halo Reach campaign's Long Night of Solace level, with all four difficulties included, but also two multiplayer playlists. There's standard Multiplayer, which is played on the lone Powerhouse map supported by the demo, as well as Firefight, played on Overlook.

Accessing the demo isn't even altogether very difficult, so long as players have an Xbox 360. The file is available freely online. All that's necessary is formatting a flash drive to FAT32, downloading the file and transferring it to the flash drive, and then plugging it into the back of the Xbox 360 for installation. From there, it's just a matter of selecting the Multiplayer playlist and waiting to find a match. It may be slow, however, depending on how many people across the world are playing.

The cited reason for shutting down these legacy Halo servers is that they require "significant time and resources" that "directly impact" the development of other Halo projects. The community, however, believes that it's just a matter of both the older Halo games not being profitable and 343 wanting players to convert to either Halo: The Master Chief Collection or Halo Infinite. These "updated" games have a diverse range of monetization that the older games do not have.

Times change and multiplayer games on older consoles have their servers shut down. It's just a fact of life for many video game players. At the very least, these games are still supported on modern platforms via Halo: The Master Chief Collection. That doesn't make up for Halo fans seeing their friends from Halo on their Xbox 360 friends lists and knowing they can't play with them anymore. It's a sad day, but hopefully the Halo Reach demo lets these Halo fans celebrate together for at least a while longer.

Halo Reach is available on the Xbox 360 and, via Halo: The Master Chief Collection, on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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