On November 15, 2001 — 15 years ago today — the original Xbox hit the retail market. The product of three years of engineering and development, Microsoft's first video game console was unveiled at CES in Las Vegas ten months before launch, in January of 2001, by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and then-wrestling superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, as WWF: Raw is War was among the games available for Xbox upon its launch.
The Xbox arrived as part of the sixth generation of gaming consoles, up against Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube and Sega's Dreamcast, with Microsoft becoming the first American company since the demise of Atari to introduce a video game console. The Xbox was a hit right away, with Xbox Live launching the following year. Successor consoles followed in the ensuing years, with Xbox 360 arriving in 2005 and Xbox One in 2013. And now, Microsoft is celebrating the console's birthday.
The company marked the anniversary with a celebratory tweet on Tuesday. Microsoft's rival Nintendo additionally chimed in with well wishes, although as of Wednesday night Sony's PlayStation Twitter account had not yet acknowledged the milestone. Take a look at the tweets:
Here's to 15 years of games, achievements, friendships, and memories.
— Xbox (@Xbox) November 16, 2016
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) November 15, 2016
Microsoft's tweeted animation included quite a few notable statistical achievements from the Xbox years: Just under 220 million Xbox players, over 4 million Xbox Live friendships made, over 29 billion hours on multiplayer, more than 100 million hours in-game, 175 billion hours on the Xbox. 32.6 billion achievements unlocked. The brief animation closes with the hashtag
Over that 15 years, much has changed with Microsoft. After all, at the time of the Xbox launch, Microsoft was known primarily as a software company, one that had been fighting a long and contentious antitrust battle with the federal government; it was seriously questioned by many video game industry observers whether Gates' company belonged on the same playing field as Nintendo and Sega. But Sega is long gone, Nintendo has had its ups and downs and 15 years later, it's hard to imagine a video game world without the Xbox.
Now, video games are played on much larger and higher-resolution TVs than were even imagined in 2001. In addition to Nintendo and Sony, Microsoft finds itself competing with virtually every smartphone and tablet - and Microsoft, now under new management, has been making more hardware than ever, including its own Windows tablets and PCs. As for Dwayne Johnson, he's gone on to launch many other blockbuster franchises.
Stay tuned with Screen Rant for more news on the Xbox brand as it develops.