Celebrating 10 years of Xbox, Happy Birthday you old brick

So, today is the original Xbox's 10-year birthday celebration. Wow, it's already been that long eh? Funny, how 10 years ago, many gamers laughed at how Microsoft was the next Sega, but here we are, 10 years later, Xbox 360 sales leading the pack, and next-gen Xbox rumors in tow.

Back in the late 1990s, it was inconceivable to even think that Microsoft would duke it out with the likes of Nintendo, Sony and Sega, but somehow they decided to enter amidst advice not to, and the rest as they say, is history.

The original Xbox launched on November 15, 2001 in North America and almost immediately it was a different kind of game console that set an agenda for online gaming and brought the hardcore-ness of PC gaming into the living room.

To many, the Xbox was a rather ugly box that was too large and heavy against the sleeker PlayStation 2 and fit little Gamecube. To make matters worse, its controller, dubbed the "Duke" was also too large to be comfortable for smaller-handed gamers (a smaller Controller S later became the default controller to appease the Japanese market).

Physical appearances aside, the Xbox was the first game console to include a hard drive and ethernet port. It wasn't the first console to do online gaming (that was the Sega Dreamcast albeit at slow 56K), but it was the first to really get broadband gaming right with a service called Xbox Live (Sony's since tried to match it with the PlayStation Network).

Hailed as the most powerful console out of the PS2 and Gamecube, the Xbox's real rise to fame can largely be attributed to Bungie's hit game: Halo: Combat Evolved. Sure, there were great games like Dead or Alive 3 and Project Gotham Racing, but it was really Halo and its online multiplayer that put Xbox on the map.

Neither Sony or Nintendo could match the Xbox's robust Xbox Live service. Some gamers still don't think PlayStation Network is nearly as solid as Xbox Live.

Although the Xbox finished up in second place behind the PS2, while bleeding money on every console for Microsoft, it put Sony and Nintendo on high alert — that it was there for the long haul and wouldn't be pulling a Sega on anybody.

In 2005, Microsoft followed up on the Xbox with the Xbox 360. The first few years for the 360 were rough — plagued with Red Rings of Death (RRoD), but last year's Xbox 360 S eliminated many of the heatsink problems that caused the original 360s to conk out randomly. Last year, Kinect was also launched and after selling some 8 million units globally, Microsoft's turning its sensor on businesses next year.

It's been a long 10 years, and the Xbox really helped shape the concept of online gaming and digital downloads on the console as we know it today.

The next Xbox is rumored to make a showing at next year's E3, with a launch possibly by the holiday of 2013.

Happy Birthday Xbox, here's to another 10 years! Join us in the comments below and tell us what you loved or hated about the original Xbox.

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