ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

Launched in 2001, Microsoft's prolific video game brand has become a leading industry presence. With 3 consoles under its belt, Xbox continues to grow, fostering a horde of loyal devotees. But how much do you really know about Xbox? Scroll down to find out!

1. Gamerpoints mean lifelong prizes!

There's dedication, and then there's obsession. I'll admit, I fell down the gamerscore rabbit hole pretty deep, inexplicably finding myself renting Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 just to bulk out my online stature. Ray Cox (Stallion83), however, took it to a whole new level, vowing to become the first person in the world to earn 1 million points...and he was. As a reward Microsoft gave him free Xbox Live membership which only expires on the day he dies!

2. Microsoft were once close to buying Sega and Nintendo

Before the original Xbox launched, when Microsoft were strategising their move into the video game market, many senior employees considered buying out the competition. Peter Moore said:

It was a classic "build or buy" conversation. Xbox had launched, but it was an aggressive black box for shooters, and how do we evolve that, how do we build the next Xbox, how do we get after Sony?

Lucky they didn't, or we might have never seen the Wii!

3. "Xbox" could have been known as the "Eleven-X"

Other notable alternatives included FACE, MARZ, M-PAC, and MIND. Hmm, I think they made the right decision.

4. Ms. Pac-Man was the first ever XBLA game to be released

Microsoft's downloadable service was so outstandingly successful, they were actually worried it would kill their own business. XBLA creator Greg Canessa notes:

There was a legitimate fear that Xbox Live Arcade was going to cannibalize retail sales and completely destroy the console industry. That was actually a quote I got from one of the internal folks.

5. One player staged an Xbox Live sit-in

On April 15th, 2010 Microsoft cut the original Xbox's internet cord, ending its online service. However, one determined gamer found a way to stay logged in by camping out Halo 2's multiplayer servers, surviving on the dormant Xbox Live for a full 2 weeks after everyone else left.

6. The Xbox controller was redesigned for Japanese gamers

The bulky Duke controller was oft derided for its design, but Microsoft actually went ahead and made major improvements for their Japanese audience base. The Eastern-minded revamped model was later introduced to Western markets.

7. Epic, the makers of Gears of War, forced Microsoft to squeeze more RAM in the Xbox 360

Originally designed with 256MB of RAM, the Xbox 360 was changed to satisfy the demands of Epic Games. It's a good job it was, as there's no way the stunning Gears of War could run on anything less than 512MB. Just think how different the last console generation would've played - let alone looked - had they not forced Microsoft's hand?


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