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Home / Features / It’s 20 years since Microsoft launched the first Xbox

It’s 20 years since Microsoft launched the first Xbox

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the original Xbox console going on sale

Xbox at 20

It’s the 20th anniversary of the original Xbox console hitting the streets of the US and Canada alongside the original Halo: Combat Evolved.

To celebrate, there was an Anniversary Celebration stream – here it is if you want to recap.

You’re also able to download special 20th anniversary Xbox wallpapers for your console, too.

As the 20 years of Xbox blog post says, twenty years ago playing on Xbox “meant hooking up your console with three (or more!) cables to a standard definition CRT TV.  You had to pre-order the hottest new games and stand in line at your favorite retail shop to pick them up.

“Games were played in 640×480 resolution, and you only had 8GB of storage and 64MB of memory to enjoy them with. And you either played alone or with a friend sitting next to you on the couch.”

Of course, the Xbox experience of today is massively different with online play, the nigh-on miracle of Xbox Game Pass and 4K HDR gaming. Microsoft also says that over 100 million players log in every month. And, of course, we’re soon to see the release of Halo Infinite, too.

20 Years of Xbox

Microsoft is also updating Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold membership badges on profile pages. A new badge will show how long you have been a member.

Microsoft has also created this video to mark 20 Years of Xbox.

Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home