The 10 Greatest Moments in Video Game Console History

Then-Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson talk about Microsoft’s Xbox, which Gates unveiled during his keynote address, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 6, 2001.

Microsoft’s Xbox video game console celebrates a milestone this month.

On Monday, Xbox celebrates its 20th anniversary since its launch in 2001. Console fans likely remember Microsoft CEO Bill Gates appearing on stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with rising WWE star Dwayne. The Rock”. Johnson (perhaps you have heard of him).

On Monday, Microsoft commemorated the anniversary with a special live broadcast.

There are also several items available for purchase to honor the anniversary, including this special Gucci pack for $10,000.

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Here’s a look back at the 10 greatest moments in Xbox history:

Original Xbox Launch

Microsoft entered the video game console space in 2001 during a very competitive time for the market. Sony had just launched the PlayStation 2 a year before, while Nintendo was still king with the Nintendo 64 and the newly released GameCube. With Sega out of sight after Dreamcast production ceased, there was an opening for Microsoft.

In the 1990s, Microsoft made several major personal computer video game successes, including Age of Empires and Flight Simulator. “The company began working on the first Xbox in 1998, when the company’s hardware division wanted to make it easier for consumers to play PC-quality games and connect with each other. The original Xbox took supports the option of connecting multiple devices together for multiplayer games.Among its other key features was a hard drive for game saves, a big draw for gamers tired of buying memory cards to store their progress .

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A screenshot of "Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary"  in the "Halo: Master Chief Collection"  video game release.

A screenshot of “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” in the “Halo: Master Chief Collection” video game release.

Just like the first Halo

Several games have been released alongside the first Xbox, but none are bigger than Halo: Combat Evolved. The first-person shooter featured Master Chief, a super-powered high-tech soldier battling the alien species called the Covenant. It not only featured a single-player adventure, but also multiplayer with up to four players locally on a console.

Halo was essential to Xbox for several reasons. First, it gave the fledgling console its signature star, much like Mario with Nintendo and Sonic with Sega. Halo has since expanded to several other games as well as other entertainment platforms, including an upcoming TV series are coming to Paramount+ in 2022.

Halo also proved that first-person shooters could work on console. Early shooters were played on PCs with a keyboard and mouse. The success of Halo, playable on two-controller controllers, paved the way for other hit action titles on consoles including Call of Duty and Fortnite.

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The birth of Xbox Live

Launched in 2002, the service allowed Xbox gamers to play against each other online. Games ranging from NFL 2K3 to Halo 2 offered a multiplayer option. Other features on Xbox Live at launch included the introduction of gamertags, personal logins you created during registration, friend lists, voice chat and matchmaking. This not only helped launch the online console gaming experiences we now have, but opened the door to conveniences like the ability to download full games directly to your device.

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The Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360.

Xbox 360 makes its debut

In 2005, Microsoft will release the second generation Xbox, called Xbox 360. Along with the typical graphical upgrades expected from newly released consoles, the 360 ​​also supports the ability to play CDs and DVDs. It also supported several accessories, including a wireless internet adapter, wireless controllers, and custom faceplates.

‘Red Ring of Death’

Many Xbox 360 owners would experience what was called the “red ring of death“, a hardware failure that would render the console inoperable. The signal was when the front of the console showed three flashing red lights on the power indicator. In 2007, Microsoft has extended warranties on consoles by three years from the date of purchase. The costs of repairing faulty consoles led Microsoft to bear over $1 billion.

Grand Theft Auto springs into action

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2006, then-Xbox executive Peter Moore rolled up his sleeve during an Xbox presentation to reveal the Grand Theft Auto IV logo, confirming that the franchise would be coming to the Xbox 360 the next day. Next year. It was a significant addition. Grand Theft Auto was arguably the hottest property in video games, with new releases only available on Sony’s rival PlayStation. This provided another step in strengthening the Xbox brand.

Kinect is trying to get you moving

While the Nintendo Wii dominates the landscape with its motion gaming platform, Microsoft attempted a similar leap with the 2010 launch of Kinect, a system with a camera that can track your movements. Unlike the Wii, which required physical game controllers, Kinect used the camera system to track body movements and hand gestures.

The Xbox One.

The Xbox One.

This is the Xbox One

In 2013, Microsoft released the Xbox One, the company’s third video game console. It’s been hampered by a higher price tag, partly due to Microsoft’s push to get more Kinect sensors into homes. In November, the Xbox One launched for $499, compared to $399 for the PlayStation 4. Microsoft would eventually lower the price by dropping Kinect, which ultimately led the company to the complete shutdown of the motion camera system.

Xbox Game Pass

In 2017, Microsoft unveiled a Netflix-style service called Xbox Game Pass, where gamers could pay a monthly subscription to access dozens of games. In addition to older titles, the platform offers access to new games the day they are released.

Xbox Series X and S are coming

Last year, Microsoft released its fourth video game consoles. Xbox Series X and S the models offered several important features, including faster download times for games, a Quick Resume option to immediately resume a game you’ve paused, and support for previous games and accessories.

Mike Snider contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Xbox 20th Anniversary: ​​The 10 Greatest Video Game Console Moments