Feature: Looking Back At The Original Xbox Launch On Its 19th Anniversary 2
Image: Microsoft, Xbox.com

Yes, it's been that long! The original Xbox first launched all the way back on November 15, 2001 in North America, so today marks the 19th anniversary of the system's initial release. How time flies!

After months of anticipation, including a very memorable Consumer Electronics Show event in 2001 which saw Bill Gates teaming up with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to unveil the original Xbox, Microsoft kicked off the launch at a spectacular Toys 'R' Us event in Times Square, filled with thousands of Xbox gamers.

Both Gates and Johnson were back in attendance to play a few rounds of Dead or Alive 3 together, and Gates also handed over the world's first Xbox to customer Edward Glucksman. Xbox creator Seamus Blackley even ended up proposing to his long-term girlfriend at the event with an elaborate ring provided by Gates.

Here's what Blackley had to say about it to VentureBeat back in 2011:

“If you are going to make a big bet in life, why not double down? What are the two biggest things you can do in life? I thought it was time to go big or go home.”

Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved

When the system eventually launched on November 15th, 2001 in North America, it was accompanied by 20 launch titles in total, spanning a wide range of genres to suit many different tastes.

The obvious standout was Halo: Combat Evolved, which remains arguably the most important game in the history of Xbox (let alone from that original launch lineup), and was a major system seller at the time.

  • 4x4 Evo 2
  • Airforce Delta Storm
  • Arctic Thunder
  • Cel Damage
  • Dark Summit
  • Dead or Alive 3
  • Fuzion Frenzy
  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Mad Dash Racing
  • Madden NFL 2002
  • Nascar Heat 2002
  • Nascar Thunder 2002
  • NFL Fever 2002
  • NHL Hitz 2002
  • Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
  • Project Gotham Racing
  • Shrek
  • Test Drive Off-Road: Wide Open
  • Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2x
  • TransWorld Surf

There were plenty of other highlights among the original Xbox launch lineup too, including the beloved Project Gotham Racing which went on to receive multiple sequels, party game Fuzion Frenzy, popular fighter Dead or Alive 3, and a wide range of sports titles including Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2x and Madden NFL 2002.

YouTuber My Retro Life was one of the lucky gamers to get their hands on an original Xbox and some of these launch titles back on day one, and actually shared some fantastic home video footage of this on his YouTube channel - it's a great watch, so we highly recommend checking it out down below. The memories!

The original Xbox was reported as a major success at launch in North America, with Microsoft calling it "one of the most successful in video game history" at the time, revealing 1.5 million units sold in North America between the Nov. 15 launch and the end of calendar year 2001.

Of course, the launch of the original Xbox in North America was just the beginning. The system eventually made its way to Asia-Pacific on February 22, 2002 and finally Europe on March 14, 2002. By June 2004, the system has sold 15.5 million units - 10.1 million in North America, 3.9 million in Europe and 1.5 million in Asia-Pacific.

Today, then, let's celebrate the 19th anniversary of the very first Xbox console - the system that kickstarted the platform all the way back in 2001. Were you an early adopter of the original Xbox? What are your favourite memories of it? Was Halo: Combat Evolved your first game? Let us know down in the comments section below.