Today, Microsoft celebrates a decade in the console industry, with November 15 marking ten years since the introduction of the original Xbox and the series that would later flagship the entire Xbox initiative: Halo.
The original launch lineup for the platform, Halo Combat Evolved aside, included Project Gotham Racing, Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee, Dead or Alive 3 and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X.
Xbox wouldn’t launch in the UK and Europe until March 14, 2002, with both the US and European launches without Xbox Live at the time: the service would appear a year to the day after Xbox’s US launch.
While Live has seen two versions in its time, one for both the original Xbox and Xbox 360, one series has seen it all in its nine years, and is known as the game that bought online console gaming into the mainstream. That game is Halo, which also celebrates being ten today.
The fight’s never finished
The series that gave Bungie its true presence has seen five games in the past decade. Halo: Combat Evolved redefined FPS for consoles after Goldeneye 64’s success, but it was Halo 2 that revolutionised online multiplayer away from PCs.
And it was Halo 3, long before the days of $400 million Call of Duty launches, that set the mark for blockbuster releases, achieving day one revenue of $170 million and selling 5.2 million units in two weeks.
Since then, Bungie has wrapped up its involvement with all things Chief-related, releasing ODST in 2009 and swansong Reach last year.
343 Industries, the Microsoft-made studio continuing work on the Halo IP, is releasing its first game in the form of an anniversary edition of Combat Evolved, with reworked graphics and more, today for Xbox 360.
Halo’s first true test of life post-Bungie, however, will come next year with Halo 4. The game will release for Xbox 360, not next-gen.
We salute you, Xbox. And you, John-117.