The Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration is here! We've come a long way since the first Xbox console and Microsoft has some nice surprises in store during today's Livestream event.
Microsoft kicked off the Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration Livestream with a trailer that briefly went over the console's history. Shortly afterward, we got treated to a cool splash screen and the first Head of Xbox Robbie Bach took to the stage to reminisce about the launch of the first Xbox console.
Power On: The Story of Xbox Details 20 Years of History
Once Bach's trip down Nostalgia Lane was over, we moved on to the first announcement: an upcoming six-part documentary series called Power On: The Story of Xbox.
Power On: The Story of Xbox will talk about the "insanity" of the DirectX team (and the console's other advocates) working together to make a console that was, at first, "held together by chewing gum and paste." And yes, this documentary will touch on the legendary "Duke" controller.
When is the Power On: The Story of Xbox Release Date?
The Power On: The Story of Xbox release date will be December 13, 2021, and will be available to watch on Roku, IMDB TV, YouTube, Redbox, and other platforms. Those fans tuning in to Xbox Fanfest will get an early look at it.
Phil Spencer Talks the Power of Games Connecting People
Following a short montage of celebrities talking about the Xbox in the past, Phil Spencer took to the stage wearing a Halo Infinite t-shirt. Spencer talked about gaming and connecting people through the medium in a surprisingly heartfelt message.
"At work, the best part of my job is spending time with the ridiculously-talented teams both here at Xbox and across our industry," Spencer said. "You -- gaming creators around the world -- are at the forefront of the world's most exciting art form. But the reality is, as an industry, none of the work comes to life until it's enjoyed by our players. You -- the global gaming community -- are a powerful force, and it is you that have made our passion as popular as important as it is today."
Following Spencer's speech, a short video played showed Xbox fans meeting in person for the first time ever. We then transitioned to another clip from Xbox's past from 2015 -- the very moment that Phil Spencer announced Xbox One Backward Compatibility to thunderous applause and cheers from the audience.
70 New Games Added to Backward Compatibility
Next Up was Xbox Compatibility Program Lead Peggy Lo taking the stage, announcing that the Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration will also include the launch of 70 new games on Backward Compatibility. These games include:
- The entire Max Payne series
- The entire F.E.A.R. franchise
- Dead or Alive Ultimate
- Star Wars: Jedi Knight II - Jedi Outcast
The Rock Returns to Announce the Xbox Vault
Next up on the screen was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announcing the Xbox Vault, a website that celebrates 20 years of Xbox by offering up cool prizes for new and old fans alike.
You can visit the Xbox Vault at xboxvault.com, although you might want to wait -- the site is already being overloaded with traffic from the tens of thousands of players watching the event.
Speaking of celebrities, we then had another clip pulled from the Vault -- Keanu Reeves' appearance at E3 2019 to talk about Cyberpunk 2077 and the iconic "You're Breathtaking" moment kicked off by content creator Peter Sark.
Making Xbox Accessible Around the World
Next was a celebration of Xbox around the world -- fans from Mexico, France, Italy, and elsewhere talked about the launches of the various Xbox consoles, interspersed with images of special events, cosplayers, and various items created by talented artists.
Head of Xbox Creator Experience Sarah Bond then came on stage to talk about the importance of hiring a variety of developers to create unique experiences for fans around the world. She also highlighted the importance of accessibility (such as with the Xbox Adaptive Controller) and diversity efforts in game design among other subjects.
Halo TV Show Teaser Tantalizes Xbox Fans
The next part of the Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration was a teaser for the upcoming Halo TV show. While an ad for this show popped up online a little earlier than expected this morning, we didn't quite get to see it in high quality until now.
Following the Halo TV show teaser, Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross came on stage to talk about the history of the Halo franchise. She noted that today is not only celebrating 20 years of Xbox -- it's also celebrating 20 years of Halo.
Following Bonnie Ross' speech, we were treated to an orchestral performance of Halo music outside of the Sydney Opera House featuring an impressive mix of orchestral instruments and a choir. This performance was interspersed with imagery from previously-released Halo Infinite trailers and the performers.
Halo Infinite Multiplayer is Live Right Now
Head of Creative for Halo Infinite Joseph Staten appeared next in front of dozens of employees from 343 Industries thanked the fans for all of their support as they lead up to the launch of the game.
Staten then handed things off to Multiplayer Associate Creative Director Tom French so he could announce a wonderful surprise: Halo Infinite Multiplayer Season 1 and its Free-to-Play Multiplayer Beta is now available on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. And no, this is not a soft beta -- your progression will carry over to the full release.
You can play the Halo Infinite Multiplayer Season 1 Beta on PC and Xbox via the Microsoft Store and on PC via Steam right now. You can learn more about the Multiplayer Beta on the official Halo website.
What did you think of the Xbox 20th Anniversary Celebration? Are you excited that you can finally play Halo Infinite Multiplayer? Let us know in the comments below!