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The original Xbox and Halo: Combat Evolved celebrate their 14th birthday today

Microsoft launched not one but two huge worldwide entertainment brands 14 years ago today. On November 15, 2001, Microsoft launched the original Xbox console in North America. It also released Halo: Combat Evolved as a launch game for the console. That combination resulted in the beginning of the company's huge console gaming business that continues to this day.

Rumors about Microsoft entering the console market began in 1999 and many people at first believed those rumors to be hoaxes. However, the console was indeed real and was officially announced by Microsoft at the Game Developers Conference in March 2000. The first Xbox had a custom 32-bit 733 MHz Pentium III processor from Intel, along with 64MB of RAM and an 8GB built-in hard drive.

Halo: Combat Evolved

Later in 2000, Microsoft shocked the game industry again when it revealed it had acquired Bungie, which had previously announced its sci-fi shooter Halo at MacWorld in 1999. Halo would be turned into an exclusive launch title for the original Xbox (the game would eventually be released for Windows and Mac in 2003). Exactly one year after the original Xbox's launch, Microsoft updated the console to support its Xbox Live online gaming service.

While only 24 million units of the console were sold, the original Xbox did have a healthy audience in North America, where 16 million units of that worldwide total were sold. Microsoft learned some lessons and in 2005 launched the Xbox 360, one year ahead of the PlayStation 3 from Sony and the Wii from Nintendo. The company moved quickly to end its manufacturing of the original console. The final game for the first Xbox, Madden NFL 09, was released on August 12, 2008. Xbox Live support for the original console ended in 2010.

The release of Halo: Combat Evolved turned into an extra bonus for Microsoft, as it evolved into a massive entertainment franchise. The core Halo game series has now spawned several sequels, and many spin-off titles, and the Halo fictional universe continues to be expanded in toys, novels, comics, animated shorts and even two live-action digital series. While Bungie later broke away from Microsoft to become an independent developer again, Microsoft still owns and develops the Halo franchise which is under the control of its 343 Industries division.

What are your memories of the original Xbox and of Halo: Combat Evolved? Let us know in the comments!

61 Comments
  • Had this day one. Brilliant.
  • Revolutionary. Was also the game me and my sister would do on legendary when we had time together. Ah memories.
  • I have all three.. Played halo on all three!
  • Wow I still have one of them boxed somewhere with Turok NFSHP, Conflict Desert Storm, & a couple others memories lol
  • Remember when you could mod them? With custom menus, themes and get them to play external media. Ya, I've got a modded one and that little guy still rocks.
  • Loved this thing.
  • Still remember playing Halo against my cousins during school holiday back in my grandma's house. Them memories. :)
  • First console I loved. It'll always be history
  • Dreamcast was the first console I loved... The Xbox seemed like the natural successor... I could never get use to the PlayStation controllers.
  • Same
  • That's appropriate, since Microsoft helped design the dreamcast's OS and direct x support. There was even talk of Microsoft buying out Sega in that era, but talks fell through.
  • Looking back on it, they probably should have bought Sega, simply for their IPs. Japan is a large market that Microsoft has failed to penetrate.
  • Dreamcast, EPIC system.... Loved it, even the controllers werre really innovative for the time...
  • The first time playing Blood Gultch on Halo 1 when my brother's friend brought his original Xbox over.... classic. Looking at those screenshots, it's amazing how far we've come in graphics capability.
  • Everyone I knew with one called it the "Halobox."
  • Girlfriend got me one in January 02'. This was a beast of a console for its time! Love it
  • The good ol days when all I had to worry about, well maybe feeding and bathing..
  • Unreal Championship and MechAssault on the original Xbox were great online. I wish UT3 and Quake 4 had gotten more traction on console, maybe DOOM will give us a true arena shooter on console to play (still debating it on PC or Xbox because I fear the multiplayer will be dead on console like Quake 4 was).
     
  • I love you xbox
  • Shotty prisoner
  • I had the original and was still playing it up until 3-4 years ago.
  • HBD OG Xbox
  • Decimating friends on multiplayer with nothing but the pistol close range and a single melee punch :P (they weren't strafing lol). They got so annoyed, that they started a 3 v 1 and camped with sniper rifles lol. Still, it was pretty fun as had tonnes of laughs. But that soundtrack.... It elevated the game to another level imo.
  • I miss that console. I also missed 'The Duke' controller. Game I miss the most is Phantasy Star Online. Plus the design of that although large was quite cool. Only liked the Dreamcast more due to the VMU.
  • Look up pso blue burst :P.
  • God I'd kill to have one again any one got one for sale lol
  • try ebay....
  • Dragged my orig xbox to my holiday home in Greece this year, where my children enjoy playing Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I bought before they were born, still works fine.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer was such an underrated game.
  • I spent a ton of time playing Halo:CE. Tricking Halo at highimpacthalo.org was my social life for a long time. Great game.
  • Wow, reading almost made me want to go get it out and fire it up...almost. I do remember a couple of things from the start though. My first thought about the console was why green? Never understood why they went with green, still don't to be honest. Thought the console was ugly. I also remember not getting Halo at launch. In fact, I can't remember what games I bought at launch but Halo wasn't one of them. When I did get it however, it changed everything. It "felt" different than anything else I had ever played. I think the xbox changed the gaming market, consoles went from toys to beasts and games became a serious thing. I wish Sega could have been successful with the Dreamcast but I am glad MS stepped in in their place.
  • Well wmp 9 was green
  • Red vs Blue is what got me into Halo and Xbox.
  • lol, my experience was just the opposite! Played halo with dorm mates, which then got me into RvB. So many years later and I still watch RvB, but I don't play halo any more... but if they are going to start releasing Halo games on PC then that will change!
  • Halo 2 was avaiable for the PC, even with Xbox live achievements... I have a copy,,,(ebay links for proof, I dont know these sellers) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Halo-2-PC-2007-/191730327040?hash=item2ca4049e00:g:3u0AAOSwlaxWOBGR and they had Combat Evolved..never owned it tho. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Halo-Combat-Evolved-for-PC-Halo-CE-Original-Halo-Great-game-/251951704290?hash=item3aa97de8e2:g:kowAAOSwpDdVJc-8 They should both work on Windows 10...SHOULD...
  • Lol made gold worth it till they stopped distributing it on waypoint
  • Now available on Halo Channel! =D
  • Yea that was back when
    you could save your Music directly on the XBOX. And when I first met Cortana
  • Man, I remember way back then I was in school for video editing and had my monstrous RT-NLE rig with a 1GHz Pentium 3, 2 whole GB of RAM, and a HUGE 80GB HDD. Then the Xbox came out a year later which was essentially the little brother of my monster computer and I was rather disappointed that my desktop PC, which had upgraded versions of almost everything that was in the Xbox, could not play games as well as the console. That thing was just magic in a box!
  • I still remember doing lan parties at a buddies house. 4 systems 4 tvs 16 nerds
  • I still remember the day I sat down on my living room floor with my new Xbox console and Halo: Combat Evolved. That was the day I feel in love.
  • Still a clear memory of picking up this system along with Halo and Dead or Alive.
  • The Dead Or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball... It totally made me feel like a perv. Lol
  • I have unlock the Halo CE LASO achievement today!
  • It's funny that Microsoft would use today (Nov 15th) as the day they also shutdown Zune. Happy Anniversary Xbox and goodbye Zune. Loved MechAssault on Xbox Live. Spent many hours playing it.
  • Whats sad is if you look at the web management for mw10 there is still a reference to zune
  • Also if you go to Settings on your PC, select System>Default Apps and Choose Default Apps by Protocol, go all the way to the bottom and you'll see ZUNE URL:Zune for the Store ;p
  • I remember playing it for the first time, it took me 2 days to complete and I thought, man, games are so easy these days, GoldenEye on the N64 took me 6 months to do. But I'm really enjoying how this game has developed and the stories people have come up with :)
  • Thanks for a lot of good times Xbox
  • I had it day one it was a beautiful beast of a machine back in its day.
  • I'm getting old
  • Still loving XBox.
  • OG!
  • Picked up the PC version about 2years ago from ms store(found out later amazon had it for cheaper) was frustrating at 1st. Played with a m570 mouse
  • I still have one of these consoles!!!
  • I miss the Duke. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I miss having a Duke to hand to friends who came over to play Madden. No WAY were they gonna hit the black- or white receivers, lol. Cut down their options and bring the HOUSE.
  • I really wish I had actually gotten one of these when it came out, I definitely could have used it...it would have been absolutely perfect too! As a Marine, I really enjoyed their role in Halo and I continue to thoroughly enjoy the series. As it is I got hooked on Xbox in 2008 and haven't looked back since... =)
  • It was always the PS2 for me. I hated the clunky controllers that first can with the original Xbox. As for Halo, it never has appealed to me I eventually got an Xbox and sold my PS2 which I deeply regret. I hated the Xbox until one game changed my mind about the Xbox but not before I sold my Xbox and bought a PS2 again, I still prefer the PS2 controller to this day, any the game that made me like Xbox was Fable. I eventually got the Crystal Xbox again with the Controversial Manhunt, another favourite Xbox game of mine was Links 2004. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Remember this day quite well, although I didn't buy one at the time (but did down the line) I was doing work experience at HMV and a few of them there had bought one on launch.
  • Had one day one.... Still have it here(at home) but, I modded it and put all my games on a 200gb drive a swapped out the interneral drive for... I still have my Halo disk..... Great system for the day....  Think about it, if it was the most advanaced system at the time, it had great game play for it's day. Even the Atari 2600 was epic for it's time...