Microsoft Xbox LIVE Turns 10: A Decade of Entertainment And Gaming [In Pictures]

For 10 years, Xbox LIVE has been the go-to destination for online multiplayer gaming, and is still home to some of the biggest blockbuster hits like “Halo 4.” Browse games on the console, discover new games through user-based recommendations, and download your favorite Xbox LIVE Arcade and Games and on-demand titles from the comfort of your living room.

Ten years ago, Microsoft introduced the world to Xbox LIVE, defined at the time as “the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences.” Since then Xbox LIVE has evolved to become Microsoft’s premier entertainment service for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. Initially available to U.S. and Canadian Xbox players, the service is now available in 41 countries and territories around the world. The 10-year journey has been long, but Xbox continually updated Xbox LIVE to add new gaming and entertainment experiences and services to the console for its members.

Commonly known as 'blades' (top left), the original Xbox LIVE dashboard design later evolved into 'channels' in 2009 (top right) and 'twists' in 2011 (bottom left). Today’s dashboard makes it easier for users to access their favorite apps and content with 'My Pins' and 'Recent' (bottom right).

Looking as far back as 2004 when Xbox introduced Xbox LIVE Arcade, you needed to pop a disc into your console to boot it up. In 2005, Xbox got gamers addicted to earning Achievements and racking up Gamerscores. Some of you may even remember the famous Xbox “Dark Master”video. Then in 2008 and 2009, Xbox LIVE introduced customizable Avatars and the Avatar Marketplace, encouraging members to personalize their gaming profile. Those of you around long enough may remember the original ‘blade’ design of the dashboard that evolved into ‘channels’ in 2008 and eventually ‘twists’ in 2011. In 2006, Xbox hit a monumental moment as the first console to add HD TV shows and movies for download, and today Xbox offers more than 60 voice-controlled apps on the service, spanning a broad range of entertainment to provide the best in TV shows, movies, sports, music, live TV, video clips, news and more. With the launch of Kinect in 2010, Xbox made it possible for you to control your entertainment with your voice or hand gestures, and in 2011, the Xbox LIVE service enabled millions of members to search for entertainment with their voice.

With the creation of Avatars in 2008, Xbox LIVE encouraged members to personalize their gaming profiles. The Avatar Marketplace launched in 2009, providing a digital marketplace for members to shop for outfits and accessories for their Avatar.

Fast forward to 2012 – now Xbox owners have entirely new entertainment experiences available at their fingertips, with great new apps like Xbox Music and Xbox Video, and Bing voice search now available in 15 markets. Xbox has become the entertainment hub in the living room with its more than 40 million members, and 2012 marked the year Xbox went beyond the console to create a new experience with Xbox SmartGlass. The new app brings amazing multi-screen entertainment experiences to the devices you already own and love – your Windows 8 tablet or PC, Windows 8 phone, iOS or Android device – and enables them to talk to your TV through the Xbox console. And with the launch of Windows 8, Xbox expanded its reach to millions of new customers as the premier entertainment service at Microsoft, with three new apps: Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Xbox Games, bringing you the best entertainment experiences to your tablet or PC.

Here is a snapshot of how Xbox LIVE has evolved over the last 10 years, from a gaming service to a premium entertainment service for all your devices.

In 2010, the Xbox LIVE update included support for Kinect for Xbox 360, enabling Xbox users to control their dashboard using voice and hand gestures. With Kinect voice search added in 2011, Xbox users also have the ability to find the games and entertainment content they want, regardless of where it resides on Xbox LIVE.


The compatibility of XBox with the new Microsoft Surface

Xbox Video has all the HD movies and TV shows you love. With first-run movies, the best TV shows available within 24 hours, and Instant On video technology (no caching or waiting for your movie to download!), your favorite movies and shows are available for immediate viewing on your Xbox 360 console or Windows 8 tablet or PC (pictured here with a tablet).

Samir Saleem

An innovative and dynamic marketing expert having worked for both local and multinational organisations,having expertise in leading diverse assignments on devising digital/social media marketing strategies, promotions, public relations and business development. As an experienced social media strategist and business analyst, he manages several brands via his 2nd Startup Hybrid Signals ( Samir is an award winning technology and social media blogger and can be reached at

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