Around the turn of the 21st century, the idea of an American-made console standing a chance in the Japanese-dominated gaming industry could only be seen as delusional. But here we are 17 years later, and "Xbox" now exists as a household name thanks to Microsoft's ingenuity, stable of developers, and, perhaps most importantly, their unfathomably deep pockets.
A lot's happened since Microsoft dropped their first console, which is more than enough time to amass some lesser known facts. That's why we've uncovered 20 bits of trivia you might have forgotten in the launch between Xbox one and Xbox One.
The person with the highest GamerScore was given a lifetime Live membership
Some are more invested in Achievements than others, but likely no one Earth is more committed to them than user Stallion83 (real name Ray Cox), the Xbox Live player that currently has over 950,000 GamerScore. Hes been working for years to be the first person to hit one million points, mainly by playing every single game there is, including international releases of the same game that count as separate releases. Seemingly as a way of thanking his dedication, Microsoft gave Ray an Xbox Live membership that was literally gold, one that granted him Xbox Live free for the rest of his life. Maybe now he'll stick with it until he's the first person to hit two million.
Ms. Pac-Man was the first ever XBLA game
Xbox Live Arcade is basically over - Microsoft now places all games in the same storefront - but many gamers may have forgotten the downloadable shop got its start before the 360 even existed. The relatively primitive early edition of XBLA came via a disc for the original Xbox and it took players to a simple digital storefront that sold a handful of arcade classics. The first of those titles, Ms. Pac-Man, was offered free to early adopters, which was a nice treat, but the purchase didn't carry over to the next system - a situation 360 owners are now adapting to with the Xbox One.
Halo was originally unveiled as a Mac exclusive
Halo is nearly synonymous with Xbox, but this wasn't always the case. 1999 saw the legendary FPS revealed at Macworld as a third-person shooter for Bungie's then-preferred platform of choice. The late, turtleneck-clad Steve Jobs introduced Halo as one of the coolest games he'd ever seen, but you have to wonder how much his tune changed when Microsoft swooped in, acquired Bungie in 2000, and transformed Halo into the first-person experience that eventually moved millions of Xboxes.
Microsoft briefly considered buying Sega and Nintendo
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em. That nearly stood as Microsoft's Xbox business strategy, as the company briefly considered buying Sega as a quick-and-dirty way to enter the console war, but decided against it after realizing the House of Sonic didn't have the power to help them bring Sony down. Microsoft also thought about buying Nintendo, but presumably reconsidered after realizing such a feat would've probably involved fighting notoriously feisty Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi to the death in some sort of cage match scenario.
The Xbox controller was redesigned to appeal to Japanese gamers
Microsoft had an uphill battle to fight with their attempt to sell the Xbox to a Japanese audience. After all, the system was big, bold, and distinctly American, and didn't mesh well with cultures who didn't necessarily share these ideals. Strangely enough, one of the Xbox's major improvements came in the form of the Controller S, which crammed all the functionality of the original Xbox controller into a form much more compact and attractive to the Japanese demographic. This design would eventually be adopted in America as well, and a decade later, this size has become the standard, leaving the oversized original controller as a forgotten relics.
The Rock helped reveal the original Xbox
Who better for the launch of your huge, American console than the most famous man alive? At the Xbox's unveiling at CES 2001, The Rock joined Bill Gates on stage where the former compared his "know your role" and "shut your mouth" catchphrases with the latter's "writing hardcore C to create slick, tight code." Thankfully, this exchange did not end with Dwayne Johnson crushing the billionaire's body with a Rock Bottom followed by a People's Elbow.
Multiple XBLA games are now MIA from the marketplace
If you don't currently own Double Dragon, Doom, Yaris, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled, you never will; due to a litany of reasons ranging from out of business publishers to lost licenses, you won't be seeing any of these titles again soon. While these absences only make for a tiny percentage of the platform's total available games, the complete disappearance of content definitely counts as one of digital distribution's few shortcomings.
"Xbox" could have been known as the "Eleven-X"
The name "Xbox" might have seemed a little clunky when the system first launched--though it certainly was boxy--but things could have been much worse. For reasons still unknown, Microsoft's "naming guys" were dead-set on calling the console 11-X or Eleven-X, until Xbox visionary Seamus Blackley insisted on the name we all know and love. Other notable alternatives? FACE, MARZ, M-PAC, and MIND. Yeesh.