Today is a memorable day in Xbox history. 19 years ago today on January 6, 2001, Microsoft formally unveiled the original Xbox during CES 2001. With that in mind, it’s as good a time as ever to re-watch the delightfully cringe-y announcement from all those years ago.
To reveal the OG Xbox, Microsoft recruited wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who at this time was not the bankable movie star that he is today. The announcement is a treat, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates repeatedly refers to him as “Rock” instead of “The Rock,” while the wrestler truly showed his acting chops reading the teleprompter.
Here’s what The Rock had to say about the Xbox:
“The Xbox is everything The Rock is. Cutting-edge, powerful, exhilarating, and like The Rock, it will be the most electrifying thing coming out this year. What The Rock is to sports entertainment to the WWF, the Xbox will be to the video game industry: a breakthrough and certainly an original. The Rock doesn’t impress easily–you know that, Bill. But I’m pretty damn impressed with what we’re seeing here today.”
The original Xbox, with its wimpy-by-today’s-standards 32-bit 722 MHz processor, went on to release in November 2001. Thanks in part to launch title Halo: Combat Evolved, the Xbox was a success that created an entirely new business unit within Microsoft, which at the time did not have a gaming presence beyond the PC.
The Xbox would be followed up by the Xbox 360 in 2005 and the Xbox One in 2013. The next iteration of the Xbox, the Xbox Series X, is set to launch in Holiday 2020.
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