Over the course of 30 hours from November 20 to November 21, 2005, Microsoft allowed more than 2,000 Xbox fans to be the very first people to get their hands on the brand-new Xbox 360. On the second day, those fans became the first people to be able to buy the all-new console. The event, which was held in Palmdale, Calif., was called "Zero Hour." It heralded the beginning of the "next-gen" video game console generation.
For the first year or two after the Xbox 360 launch, the consoles were plagued with the so-called "Red Ring of Death," a hardware defect that caused the consoles to crash and often die. Microsoft later came up with a $1 billion warranty program to ensure that users were able to get a working Xbox.
Among the biggest franchises in video game history, Halo was also one of the biggest exclusives for the Xbox. There are now six Halo titles, including the original, which was released for the first Xbox.
A huge part of the Xbox success story has been Xbox Live, the online service used by 25 million members that provides access for multiplayer gaming. Those who want premium service pay $60 a year for Xbox Live Gold.
In the fall of 2009, Microsoft released a new version of Xbox Live that offered users access to their Facebook, Twitter, and Last.fm accounts, allowing them to use all those services without having to leave the Xbox universe.