The fine cranks over at Curmudgeon Gamer have pointed out a somewhat disturbing trend of server shutdowns for some high profile online-enabled games from the last generation. Apparently, the online user base for these games is no longer sufficient to justify the expense for the companies running their servers.
It's a little bit troubling to consider that there's an effective time limit for the online features of any console game you buy, and that this limit is totally at the discretion of the publisher. Then again, it's hard to ask a company to continue to devote resources for servers that few people are using and fewer still will likely use in the future.
The solution seems obvious to us -- let players host their own servers, either through a PC or through the console itself. The online experience might suffer a bit, but at least interested players will still be able to play online without being a burden on the publisher. Failing that, follow the Curmudgeon's suggestion bring back the direct connection, player-to-player multiplayer that was available on the Dreamcast. Either way, don't take away our online play.