Happy Birthday: Microsoft’s Xbox brand celebrates its 13th birthday, Xbox Live turns 12


Microsoft's Xbox brand celebrates its 13th birthday, Xbox Live turns 12

The Xbox brand has come a long way. On November 15th of 2001, Microsoft launched the original Xbox console, which ushered in a new era of gaming. Microsoft launched the Xbox console at a retail price of $299 to compete against the Sony PlayStation 2, Sega Dreamcast, and the Nintendo GameCube. Here is a sample of the original press announcement back in 2001:

“Xbox will hit the market and redefine how people think about and play video games,” said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. “Xbox is going to change video games the way MTV changed music. Your games are never going to be the same.” 

Our games were indeed never going to be the same after the launch of the original Xbox. For those that didn’t know, the name “Xbox” was derived from the term “DirectX Box,” which was a reference to Microsoft’s graphics API, DirectX.

Competing with PlayStation’s online service, Microsoft launched the integrated Xbox Live service in November of 2002, one year after the original Xbox console was launched in North America. This allowed games to be played online with a broadband connection. 

Microsoft then launched the Xbox 360 in November of 2005, as the successor to the original Xbox console. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 would go head-to-head with the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. At this point, the Xbox Live service was highly improved and featured a free subscription tier, as well as the ability to stream content from PCs, stream music, TV programs, and more via the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services. The Kinect motion sensor was eventually released, allowing gamers to control and interact with their content. A slimmer, faster, better Xbox 360 was launched in 2010.

And now here we are at the current generation. Microsoft released the Xbox One console in November of 2013 (North America) and it was the successor to the Xbox 360. Competing against the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft’s Xbox One console has been receiving numerous monthly improvements and various exclusive game titles in an attempt to woo gamers.

The Xbox One may be struggling a bit to surpass the PlayStation 4 in terms of market share, but that doesn’t mean the overall Xbox brand wasn’t a success. Microsoft recently announced that they have sold almost 10 million Xbox One consoles to retailers since its launch almost a year ago. Most of the progress is attributed to the price reduction for the console, the unbundling of the Kinect, as well as exclusive new games and bundles which were introduced in the past few weeks. 

Let’s take this time to wish Xbox a happy 13th birthday, and wish Xbox Live a happy 12th birthday! How long have you been a proud Xbox gamer? How has your experience been the past several years?