When Did the First Xbox Come Out?

If you’re one of the 100+ million gamers who use Xbox, you’ve probably asked yourself this question – when did the first Xbox come out? It’s a relatively common query that intrigues many gamers across the globe. And the answer is: over twenty years ago.

The first Xbox was launched by Microsoft in 2001. Back then, creating a brand-new gaming console from scratch was a huge risk. In addition, Microsoft was taking on more well-established competitors like Nintendo and Sony with this move. But, it was a risk that paid off.

Do you have a particular question about the first Xbox release? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the black arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

Since 2001, Xbox has given the world countless memorable games & gaming experiences. Since the launch of the first-ever Xbox in 2001, there have been several generations of Xbox. Each one was more powerful and advanced than the last. Here’s the complete list:

  •  Xbox Console (2001)
  •  Xbox 360 (2005)
  •  Xbox 360 S (2010)
  •  Xbox 360 E (2013)
  •  Xbox One (2013) (first Xbox one release date)
  •  Xbox One S (2016)
  •  Xbox One X (2017)
  •  Xbox Series X and Series S (2020)

If you’re an avid gamer, knowing the answer to the question “When did the original Xbox come out?” is very important. But, even more important is learning the significance of this launch & how it defined 21st-century gaming.

Let’s explore the tale of the Xbox original launch in great detail & assess how this brand name became ubiquitous in the gaming industry. 

When Was the Original Xbox Released?

The “original Xbox” or the “1st Xbox” was Microsoft’s first gaming console. It was also the first gaming console manufactured by an American company since the Atari Jaguar was shelved in 1996. Here are the original Xbox release dates from across the world –

  •    November 15th, 2001: The world’s first Xbox console is launched in North America.
  •    February 22nd, 2002: The first Xbox console is launched in Japan. 
  •    March 14th, 2002: The first Xbox console is launched in Europe & Australia.

This was Microsoft’s first venture in the video game console market. In 2001, Microsoft competed against Nintendo’s GameCube, Sega’s Dreamcast & Sony’s PlayStation 2. Before this, the company was solely focused on PC gaming.

So, Microsoft’s first Xbox release date (November 15th, 2001) was a huge deal. Here’s an amazing video that answers the question “when did Xbox come out” in great detail. It also explains the impact of this launch on the tech world.

What Was the First Xbox Called?

The 1st Xbox was simply called “Xbox Console (2001).” Upon its launch, the video game console outperformed Sega’s Dreamcast & Nintendo’s GameCube. It sold 1+ million units within 3 weeks of its launch. During its lifetime, the original Xbox Console has sold 24+ million units.

The first-ever Xbox featured some very smart design choices. It had four controller ports & one built-in Ethernet port (the first of its kind). This port enabled gamers to connect to play games while connected to the Internet.

Back then, neither Nintendo’s GameCube nor the original PlayStation 2 provided this pathbreaking feature. The online connectivity heightened the popularity of the first Xbox console games, particularly multiplayer games like Halo.

Halo’s multiplayer aspect felt like a breath of much-needed freshness in the gaming industry. It’s no surprise that the games in the Halo series were the best-selling games of this Xbox generation. Here are the key features & specs of the world’s first-ever Xbox –

  •    Memory Capability: 64 MB DDR SDRAM
  •    Hard Drive Capability: 8 GB HDD
  •    Network Connection: Fast Ethernet
  •    Audio Features: 5.1 Surround Sound & Stereo
  •    CPU: Intel Pentium III, 733 MHz
  •    GPU: NVIDIA NV2A, 233 MHz
  •    Optical Drive: CD Rom, DVD Rom
  •    Video Output: SCART (RGB) & S-Video

How Much Was the Original Xbox When It Came Out?

Xbox introduced the world to multiplayer gaming. So, it’s no surprise that this video game console costs more than its peers during its launch. On November 15th, 2001, it was announced that the original Xbox would cost users $299.

But, a few months later, on April 18th, 2002, Microsoft reduced the price of their video game console from $299 to $199. This incredible $100 reduction in price meant that Microsoft wasn’t earning any profits from sales of the system.

But, it encouraged more households to add the Xbox to their living rooms. More importantly, this move set up Xbox as a major force in the global video game console wars. The Xbox soon managed to outsell Sega’s Dreamcast & Nintendo’s GameCube.

What Games Came with the Original Xbox?

One of the first & most important games released for the 1st Xbox was Halo: Combat Evolved. It was released in November 2001 & it was the first product in the Halo series. This series would become the most significant shooter franchise of all time.

Halo: CE was the first Xbox console’s best-selling game. It gave Xbox a unique position in the global video game industry. Since its launch, many more sequels of this game have been launched for future Xbox platforms.

Over the course of the first Xbox console’s life, over a thousand games were released for it. The last one was the “Xiaolin Showdown in Europe” in 2007. Here’s a list of some of the most important first-party games released by Microsoft on the original Xbox:

  •  Halo: Combat Evolved
  •  Project Gotham Racing
  •  Fuzion Frenzy
  •  Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding
  •  Blood Wake
  •  NBA Inside Drive 2002
  •  RalliSport Challenge
  •  Quantum Redshift
  •  Whacked!
  •  Sneakers
  •  MechAssault
  •  Kakuto Chojin: Back Alley Brutal
  •  Kung Fu Chaos
  •  Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus
  •  Brute Force
  •  Midtown Madness 3
  •  Voodoo Vince
  •  Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  •  Maximum Chase
  •  RalliSport Challenge 2
  •  Sudeki
  •  Fable
  •  Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders
  •  Halo 2
  •  MechAssault 2: Lone-Wolf
  •  Phantom Dust
  •  Forza Motorsport
  •  Conker: Live & Reloaded
  •  Grabbed by the Ghoulies
  •  Project Gotham Racing 2
  •  Half-Life: Counter-Strike

The Xbox 360, the original Xbox’s successor, was formally announced on May 12th, 2005. Unfortunately, that marked the end of the first Xbox console’s glorious run. Support for these consoles was officially discontinued on March 2nd, 2009.

Credits: Thanks for the photo to Canva.

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