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Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

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.

The Xbox turned 5 years old on Sunday.

Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Norm Edwards holds up the first-ever Xbox 360 to go on sale, at the "Zero Hour" event in Palmdale, Calif., on November 21, 2005.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Daniel Terdiman/CNET
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Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Microsoft's original Xbox 360 required an add-on 20GB hard drive and didn't have integrated Wi-Fi. It cost $399 in 2005.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Microsoft
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

In an attempt to match Sony's offering of a Blu-ray player with its PlayStation 3, Microsoft began offering an add-on HD DVD player.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Greg Sandoval/CNET
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Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

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.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: CNET Networks
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Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

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.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Bungie
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Another giant success for Xbox was the exclusive Gears of War franchise from Epic.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Epic
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

In 2007, Microsoft released the Xbox 360 Elite, which had a 120GB hard drive, as well as an HDMI port and HDMI cable, and a wireless remote. It cost $479 when it was released.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Microsoft
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Epic followed up its mega-hit with Gears of War 2, also an Xbox exclusive.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Epic
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Another big exclusive franchise for the Xbox was Fable, from Lionhead Studios, run by legendary game designer Peter Molyneux. The franchise continued with Fable II, and now Fable III is in the works.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Lionhead Studios
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

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.
Updated: / Caption:
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Halo 3 became one of the best-selling games ever when it was released in 2007.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Bungie
12
of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

The third major iteration of the Xbox 360, the Slim was released in 2010 and brought the cost of the core system down to $300, and offered users a 250GB hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Microsoft
13
of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

The Halo franchise was developed by Bungie Studios, but one iteration, Halo Wars, was put out by Ensemble Studios.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Ensemble Studios/Microsoft
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

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.
Updated: / Caption:
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

In 2010, Bungie and Microsoft released Halo: Reach, the latest version of the mega-hit franchise.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Bungie/Microsoft
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of 17

Zero Hour

First Xbox 360 buyer

Original Xbox 360

HD DVD

Red Ring of Death

Halo 2

Gears of War

Xbox Elite

Gears of War 2

Fable II

Xbox Live

Halo 3

Xbox Slim

Halo Wars

Social media on Xbox Live

Halo: Reach

Kinect

Microsoft's Kinect motion controller seems poised to help the Xbox become much more versatile. The system allows players to control games wirelessly with little more than their hands.
Updated: / Caption: / Photo: Microsoft
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