Where have all those years gone, hey? It only seems like yesterday when we were getting in from school, after hanging out with our friends all day and turning on the Xbox to play with the friends that we had just left, and those memories couldn’t have happened without Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. The service is celebrating 20 years of activity this week, so what better time to look back at the history of it all?
Microsoft’s Xbox Live service first went live back on November 15, 2002, and it has only gone from strength to strength ever since. The service is now officially known as the Xbox network, but the OGs know it as Xbox Live, and it changed the way we game for good, adding online capabilities to the original Xbox. Even though the first Xbox had multiplayer options for you and your friends, with us all having to congregate at the friend’s house with the biggest TV and the most cookies, the introduction of Xbox Live offered a chance to play with your friends from the comfort of your own home.
Like many live services, in the beginning, Xbox Live had a fair few teething problems, which wasn’t helped by old dial-up internet connections either. The service did see a surge in popularity after the launch of the great and powerful Halo 2 though, and since that very moment, Microsoft has not looked back. It was reported that in January 2021, Microsoft claimed that there were more than 100 million Xbox network subscribers, a figure that also included people who signed up through the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription tier.
With this being such a huge milestone, it feels only right that the appropriate celebrations take place. It has been revealed that the people who have been with Xbox Live for the past 20 years will be presented with a shiny new badge that acknowledges their commitment to the service. But just for the record, this will be a digital badge, it’s not something you can stick on your fridge at home.
You can see the prized badge in the tweet below, and just look how pretty it looks. You might feel slightly underwhelmed by this gift from Microsoft in return for all those years of loyalty, but what else did you expect would happen? A free year’s subscription? Huge discounts on your favorite games? At least it’s something, a nice little acknowledgment like this can go a long way. What are your fondest memories of Xbox Live then?