Tech Talk: XBox Live celebrates birthday


Yesterday marked a long 10 years for the service.


By Jordan O’Brien

Happy birthday to Xbox Live, the gaming service which rejuvenated console gaming from a local multiplayer environment, into the number one source for gaming online.

Yesterday marked a long 10 years for the service, and it hasn’t been without its problems but it’s finally reached a milestone that it can be proud of.

Microsoft wasn’t the first to come up with online gaming on the console, as Sega had tried before with the Dreamcast.

Seganet and dreamarena, Sega’s online platforms, unfortunately failed due to a lack of adoption of broadband at the time, leading Sega to install a dial-up modem into the Dreamcast.

When the Xbox was launched in 2001, Xbox Live was still in the works, it hadn’t even been given a name, but at E3 2002, that all changed and gaming on the console was changed forever.

Microsoft didn’t just want online gaming though, they wanted features that had attracted people to PC gaming over the years, such as voice chat and friends lists.

The service was an instant hit, and its half-a-decade anniversary saw it reach eight million subscribers.

It’s hard to imagine that in the half-a-decade since, Microsoft has grown Xbox Live to over 40 million subscribers, with over 70 million Xbox 360s sold, that’s not bad at all.

Recently it’s been hard to escape the Xbox Live branding, with the service being an integral part of Windows 8 as well as Windows Phone 8.

Microsoft’s Director of Programming for Xbox Live, Larry Hyrb, aka Major Nelson, said: “On behalf of everyone here on the Xbox team…thank you for your support over the past ten years.

“Thank you for believing, like we did, that a premium online service has a place in console gaming.”

The recent release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II goes to show how much people these days really care about online gaming, it’s not just about the story.

To celebrate the anniversary of Xbox Live, Microsoft are currently giving away Kinect title ‘Wreckateer’ for free until close of play today.

A number of games are currently 50% off on the Xbox Live marketplace too, including Battlefield 1943, Castle Crashers, Bastion, Fruit Ninja Kinect, Peggle and Full House Poker.

Microsoft’s Vice President of Xbox Live, Marc Witten, said: “I’m proud to announce that during the week of Nov. 6 through Nov. 13, our members spent more time on Xbox Live (gaming and watching entertainment) than any other week in the history of our service: a total of 442 million hours”

He went on to add that 9.4 million people a week now use multiplayer gaming on Xbox Live, as well as 14.5 billion Achievements having been unlocked worldwide, accumulating a combined gamerscore of over 270 billion.

With the Xbox 720 rumoured to be launched next year, it’s hard to think where Xbox Live will go next.

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