Microsoft’s Xbox is a heavyweight in the gaming industry. It has managed to go toe-to-toe with the market’s greats, including Nintendo and Sony’s PlayStation. However, did you know that Microsoft banned a gamer from using the platform’s services after he listed “Fort Gay” as his address? It took the intervention of the town’s mayor for him to be reinstated. Microsoft thought the name was made up. Keep reading to find out more interesting Xbox gaming console facts.

1. The Original Xbox Was Released in 2001

On November 15, 2001, Microsoft released its first-ever gaming console, only known as Xbox. It was a 6th generational video game-playing device that sought to compete with the likes of PlayStation 2 and GameCube from Nintendo. Xbox initially hit the North American market before going to Australia. The first pieces of Xbox gaming consoles reached Europe and Japan in 2002.

2. The US Navy Submarines Use Xbox 360 Controllers to Manage Their Periscopes

The US Navy Submarines rely on Xbox 360 controllers to manage their periscopes. Depending on the feedback from sailors and junior officers, the Navy can control the submarine periscopes and navigate safely. Before they started using Xbox controllers, the Navy relied on clunky, heavy, and costly controllers. The Xbox gaming pads only cost about $40 compared to the previous ones, which cost upwards of $38,000.

3. Xbox Was the First Major Gaming Console Produced By an American Company

Although the Atari Jaguar is technically the first gaming console produced by an American company (released in 1993), Xbox surpassed it in every aspect. Produced and sold by Microsoft, Xbox was the first to compete with other international consoles and put North America on the map.

4. The Majority of the First Xbox 360 Gaming Consoles Were Defective

The initial Xbox 360 gaming consoles produced by Microsoft were defective. The central processor of the console was mostly faulty and was characterized by an off-the-line light popularly known as the “ring of death.”

5. Microsoft Created Xbox out of Fear that Other Gaming Consoles Would Take Over Home Entertainment

white sony vaio laptop computer

In the early 2000s, Sony produced and sold PlayStation 2 gaming consoles, which allowed users to play games and playback CD-ROMs and DVDs. Microsoft saw this as a threat to personal computers as living room entertainment devices, so it created Xbox. This explains why the original Xbox has components that are almost similar to standard PCs.

6. An Xbox Player Once Kept His Console Running for a Month to Keep Playing a Limited Game

Xbox’s Halo 2 multiplayer game was among the most popular on the platform. So, when Microsoft announced that they were shutting it down, a player kept his Xbox console running for a month to prevent the new changes from taking place. He was automatically booted from the game after that.

7. Xbox Made Billions of Losses Despite Selling Millions of Consoles

When Xbox was first launched in the United States, it sold over 1.5 million units before the year (2001) ended. The system sold over 24 million copies the following year, making a proper statement in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, despite the heavy sales, Microsoft didn’t make any profits. Instead, the company reported a loss of over $4 billion. Apparently, the system’s production cost was higher than its selling price.

8. The Original Xbox Logo Was Green


The original Xbox logo was green. However, this wasn’t intentional; the designer had no other markers left.

9. Xbox Underperformed in Regions Outside the United States

While it’s true Xbox made millions of sales in its initial release, most of those came from within the United States. Particularly in Japan (where gaming is a huge deal), Xbox sold poorly, mainly because of its size and the executives’ insistence on marketing to American audiences. Xbox didn’t have Japanese-developed titles, so consumers outside the Western market couldn’t relate to it.

10. Bill Gates Personally Sold the First Xbox Gaming Console

Xbox was strategically launched at midnight three days before Nintendo released its GameCube. Microsoft’s owner, Bill Gates, was present and personally the very first Xbox gaming console. He greeted and played games with the people present in a bid to improve the products’ popularity.

11. An Xbox Television Advertisement Was Banned in the UK in 2002

In 2002, Xbox ran a television commercial that featured a mother giving birth to a baby boy who fires like a projectile through a window. The newborn ages quickly while flying before eventually crash-landing into a grave – the advertisement ends with the slogan, “Life is short. Play more.” Incidentally, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) found the advert to be in bad taste and banned it in the United Kingdom.

12. The Xbox Controller Was Nicknamed “Fatty”

black xbox one game controller

The original Xbox controller was nicknamed “Fatty” because of its humongous size. It attracted tremendous criticism because of this; it was even voted “Blunder of the Year” by Game Informer in 2001. Critics claimed it was the second-worst video game console controller behind Atari Jaguar’s. The Xbox controller was later nicknamed the “Duke.”

13. Xbox’s “Controller S” Was Originally for Use in Japan Only

Codenamed “Akebono,” “Controller S” was a smaller and lighter Xbox controller originally meant for use in Japan. The original Xbox controller was so big that users with smaller hands couldn’t operate it. Eventually, Microsoft, due to public demand, was forced to replace the original gaming pad with “Controller S” for worldwide use.

14. Xbox Live Was Launched in 2002

Xbox was among the first gaming consoles to feature an Ethernet port, which allowed users to connect their devices to the internet. As such, Microsoft seized the opportunity to allow subscribers to play online Xbox games through its Xbox Live feature. Officially launched in 2002, Xbox Live allowed gamers to download and play games while simultaneously generating revenue for the company.

15. Xbox Was Among the First Gaming Consoles That Had a Storage Hard Disk

Apart from the Ethernet port, Xbox gaming consoles had storage hard disks that allowed gamers to download and store their favorite games. The majority of the gaming console’s features centered on those of a personal computer; the hard disk and Ethernet ports were among them.

16. The Original Xbox Was Discontinued in 2005

In 2005, Microsoft discontinued the original Xbox, replacing it with Xbox 360. The successor was scheduled to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii, which it actually did! Both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 sold about 84 million units. In 2013, Microsoft released Xbox One to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 4 before releasing Xbox Series X and Series S in 2020 to go toe-to-toe with the PlayStation 5.

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Last Update: February 19, 2024