Halo 2 is a right bastard. It may be one of the best games ever conceived but its brilliance has had a harmful effect on Xbox Live.
Once mightily populated servers are now as empty as Gary Glitter's diary. We tried to get a game on Burnout Revenge the other day and there were dustballs rolling across the tarmac.
So it's going to take a cracking game to make people give up their Halo 2 habit and play something different. Battlefield 2 is the one to do it.
The most impressive aspect of the package is the sheer size of the maps. These battlefields are huge, complex and beautifully designed.
Choppers, Humvees, jeeps, tanks and personnel carriers can all be commandeered, elevating the destruction to a pitch you won't have experienced on Xbox Live before.
What's also telling is the way everything has been geared towards teamwork. With up to 24 players clashing on each map, and so many weapons, vehicles and roles to play with, it's important that your band of online brothers communicate well to achieve victory.
But for Xbox, a special single-player campaign has also been constructed. While it lacks some of the fizz of the online mode, it remains comprehensive and engrossing.
If there's one criticism, it's that your weapons never feel particularly meaty and potent. All you get is a line of text informing you of a kill.
Equally, when you take out a tank it doesn't explode with wreckage going hither and thither. It's more like a Paul Daniels magic trick - a small orange puff followed by a baffling disappearance.
But these are mean criticisms considering the carefully constructed rule-set and balanced box of toys Dice has given us. Live play we've experienced so far is thrilling, addictive and free of technical hitches.
It's always difficult to say for sure if an online game is going to blossom and mature, because that largely depends on how well supported it becomes, but we can safely say that this has all the ammunition to put a rocket up Halo 2's arse. And that can't be a bad thing... can it?