REDMOND, Wash. – Nov. 15, 2012 – Ten years ago, Microsoft introduced the world to Xbox LIVE, defined at the time as "the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences." Since then Xbox LIVE has evolved to become Microsoft’s premier entertainment service for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. Initially available to U.S. and Canadian Xbox players, the service is now available in 41 countries and territories around the world. The 10-year journey has been long, but Xbox continually updated Xbox LIVE to add new gaming and entertainment experiences and services to the console for its members.
Looking as far back as 2004 when Xbox introduced Xbox LIVE Arcade, you needed to pop a disc into your console to boot it up. In 2005, Xbox got gamers addicted to earning Achievements and racking up Gamerscores. Some of you may even remember the famous Xbox “Dark Master” video. Then in 2008 and 2009, Xbox LIVE introduced customizable Avatars and the Avatar Marketplace, encouraging members to personalize their gaming profile. Those of you around long enough may remember the original 'blade' design of the dashboard that evolved into 'channels' in 2008 and eventually 'twists' in 2011. In 2006, Xbox hit a monumental moment as the first console to add HD TV shows and movies for download, and today Xbox offers more than 60 voice-controlled apps on the service, spanning a broad range of entertainment to provide the best in TV shows, movies, sports, music, live TV, video clips, news and more. With the launch of Kinect in 2010, Xbox made it possible for you to control your entertainment with your voice or hand gestures, and in 2011, the Xbox LIVE service enabled millions of members to search for entertainment with their voice.
Fast forward to 2012 – now Xbox owners have entirely new entertainment experiences available at their fingertips, with great new apps like Xbox Music and Xbox Video, and Bing voice search now available in 15 markets. Xbox has become the entertainment hub in the living room with its more than 40 million members, and 2012 marked the year Xbox went beyond the console to create a new experience with Xbox SmartGlass. The new app brings amazing multi-screen entertainment experiences to the devices you already own and love – your Windows 8 tablet or PC, Windows 8 phone, iOS or Android device – and enables them to talk to your TV through the Xbox console. And with the launch of Windows 8, Xbox expanded its reach to millions of new customers as the premier entertainment service at Microsoft, with three new apps: Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Xbox Games, bringing you the best entertainment experiences to your tablet or PC.
Here is a snapshot of how Xbox LIVE has evolved over the last 10 years, from a gaming service to a premium entertainment service for all your devices.
Xbox LIVE, Then and Now
Xbox 360: Zero Hour Launch Event
November 15, 2012
At the Xbox 360: Zero Hour launch event in November 2005, thousands of gamers from around the world witnessed the dawning of the next generation of gaming. Xbox LIVE membership would grow from about 2 million to today's 40 million members.