Xbox is now twenty years old and Microsoft chose to mark the milestone with a celebration stream that included some pretty big announcements as the company looked to the future while also honoring its legacy.
Microsoft’s celebration showcase focused almost equally on Xbox’s past and future, which have more in common than many may have realized. That being said, the showcase was effective as it managed to stir up nostalgia for the brand while also containing some pretty huge announcements.
Business Became Passion
Robbie Bach, the first head of Xbox, started the show off with an important reminder: Xbox started out as a simple business venture. The Xbox brand was meant to serve as a spot for Microsoft in the living room while also maintaining the company’s efforts in computer software and Windows. Bach explained how Xbox quickly became a project built on passion, creativity, and the future, instead of just another corporate decision.
Bach highlighted a few of Xbox’s innovations that changed the video game industry, including hard drive storage and Xbox Live, before revealing the first announcement, which should appeal to most fans of the Xbox console and history.
Power On: The Story of Xbox
Power On will tell the story of Xbox from the very beginning — and it’s coming soon! The six-part series comes from the archives of Xbox and is told by the people that helped make it happen and those that were there, like Snoop Dogg.
The series will premiere across a variety of streaming services, including YouTube, Roku, IMDbTV, Redbox, and more, at no cost. Power On: The Story of Xbox is being made by an Emmy-winning production team and so it should be worth the wait when it premieres on December 13th, 2021.
70+ additional backward compatible titles from the Original Xbox and Xbox 360
70+ new games from across Xbox’s history on both the Original Xbox and Xbox 360 are now playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, but it comes with a catch. Xbox likely won’t be adding many more games to the backward compatibility program, citing licensing and copyright issues as the biggest barrier moving forward.
That being said, the latest addition of games brings the total number of preserved titles to 695 titles across the Xbox and Xbox 360 libraries. And while every game may not be worth playing, it also isn’t the point. The preservation of video games shouldn’t ever hinge on quality, review scores, or anything else. Art should be preserved and available whether it’s for sale or not, and that includes games.
Nintendo and PlayStation have existed longer than Xbox as well, which makes Phil Spencer’s commitment to games preservation and backward compatibility all the more impressive. The latest update contains some notable highlights as well, including Otogi: Myth of Demons, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and even 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand.
Xbox has had ‘one-Halo-a-run’ — and it’s not over yet
Halo Infinite was delayed last year, missing the launch of Xbox’s latest consoles, but Microsoft corrected that mistake with some big Halo surprises. This included a message from 343 Industries, the developer of Halo titles, along with the surprise launch of Infinite’s multiplayer mode.
Halo Infinite’s campaign won’t be released until December 8, 2021, but Microsoft couldn’t have picked a better commercial than free Halo multiplayer for anyone with an Xbox, PC, or even a phone or tablet through the power of Xcloud. The release of Infinite’s multiplayer also included details on the game’s Battle Pass and first season, which is called Heroes of Reach.
Microsoft also released a teaser trailer for the Halo TV series, which is scheduled to release exclusively on Paramount+ in 2022. The trailer made it feel a little more real but fans likely won’t hold their breath since the series has been in development hell for several years. That being said, the Halo series does feel more real than ever — and it looks like Halo too.
It was good seeing Xbox confident and in a good place while the company’s legacy and history were under the spotlight. The showcase painted a detailed and bright future for Xbox while also showing how games and the industry are better when Xbox is involved. 2022 and beyond looks like it will be a good time for both Xbox and the industry at large.