Happy Birthday Xbox and Xbox Live! Thirteen years ago Microsoft forever changed the console gaming landscape in a fundamental way. With the introduction of its “Direct X box” or Xbox, Microsoft took on the top two console makers at the time, Sony and Nintendo. Sega was quickly driven out of the market and the sixth console generation became dominated by the Xbox and Playstation 2 — an impressive feat for the new kid on the block! It was helped along by a built-in hard drive — a first for a console. What truly made Microsoft’s big black brick great didn’t launch until a year later: the Xbox Live service.
Xbox Live’s subscription-based service showed Microsoft’s dedication to creating a console for the internet age. Both the Nintendo Gamecube and Sony Playstation 2 had online services, but they were far more mediocre and were not unified platforms. Xbox Live had a friends list, news service, and many other features. Since then Xbox Live has greatly expanded. The greatest demonstration of Xbox Live’s service was Halo 2, Xbox’s best-selling game which came out in 2004. Halo 2 is currently available remastered for the Xbox One as part of the Master Chief Collection.
The effect Xbox Live had on the next generation of consoles was unmistakable, with both Sony and Nintendo watching unified online services to follow suit. The online era for console players had finally launched and the success of the Xbox Live service is what finally galvanized Nintendo and Sony to follow Microsoft’s lead.
So all you console gamers out there join us at APGNation in wishing both the original Xbox and Xbox live a happy birthday!
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