All week long here at LOGNET, we will be honoring the 20th anniversary of the Xbox platform. Each day you can look forward to a piece from the team highlighting a key moment in time for Xbox. Among the first articles comes a nod to the legend, Xbox Live.
The Launch of Xbox Live
On November 15th, 2002, Microsoft officially took the Xbox online. After a successful summer beta, a small handful of games would be playable online. In 2002, Xbox Live included voice chat, friends lists, leaderboards, and game invites.
While only a few million American homes had the broadband internet required to connect to Xbox Live, it was a revolution in home console gaming. Of course, the PS2, Dreamcast, and Gamecube all had online games. Yet, Xbox Live was the first platform where you could play all of your games in one place seamlessly, with your friends.
For those that wished to take their Xbox Online, stores like KB Toys, Babbages, and Circuit City would carry Xbox Live Starter Kits. A $50 package that included a headset, 12 months of Xbox Live via a code, and demos for MotoGP, Mechassault, and Tetris Worlds. Following the launch, three and twelve-month codes were sold in small paper disc holders that included a demo for various launch games.
After the launch of Xbox Live, NFL Fever and Mechassault would become two of the more important franchises on the original Xbox platform. Plus the addition of Xbox Live, Xbox became the best place to play games like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon and NBA 2K.
Xbox Live Launch Titles
- NBA 2K3
- NFL Fever 2003
- NHL 2K3
- Tetris Worlds
- Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon
- Unreal Championship
In the years following Xbox Live would slowly build its base. Then in 2004, Xbox launched Halo 2. By the time Halo 2 had been released most Xbox players made the jump to the online service and over 2.4 million players purchased Halo 2 its first day on store shelves.
Come Holiday 2005, Xbox saw its first evolution in Xbox Live with the Xbox 360. When the Xbox 360 launched it was the first console built from the ground up with Xbox Live in mind. The console would launch with games like Perfect Dark Zero, Call of Duty 2, and Project Gotham Racing 3. It would end its run with games that would require online play like Destiny, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and The Crew.
The formula of friends lists, party chats, and leaderboards that began with Xbox Live, still exist today as an important way to game with friends. The service is a significant moment in gaming history and its launch is one of the most significant moments in Xbox history.