Everything that’s fun to do alone, is more fun to do with your friends. – Jason Jones, Bungie
Ten years ago, an upstart service known as Xbox LIVE came online for the very first time. At Bungie, we had a front row seat for the development of this emerging platform for online gaming, and our designers and engineers were already salivating over the prospect of getting our grubby little code-creating hands on it. They were no strangers to the absurd amounts of fun to be had on the internet, and they were dreaming of a day when our Xbox Halo players could connect, not just in their dorm rooms and living rooms, but through the magic of 1s and 0s in cyberspace.
Over the past ten years, Xbox LIVE has allowed me to keep in touch with my oldest friends while connecting me to a wealth of new ones. Despite the distance my life's travels have taken me, I continue to spend countless hours relaxing and playing games with my buddies as if we were just sitting on a couch next to each other.
A full decade later, the Xbox LIVE Friends List has become all but ubiquitous among people who seek their thrills in multiplayer. Microsoft made magic. And if you’ll allow us to bang our little Bungie drum a bit, we weaved some of our own with a whole slew of features custom built for Halo 2 that eventually became part of the core Xbox LIVE experience.
Bungie's "Virtual Couch" allowed us to enjoy the Halo 2 LAN experience when a real LAN wasn't feasible. LAN play in Halo gave me a way to connect with friends that nothing that came before it provided. As we scattered to the winds, Xbox LIVE and Halo 2 gave us an opportunity to recapture that magic.
Louis Wu, Founder, halo.bungie.org, Member AARP
There is a whole new generation of gamers on the grid who will never know of a time that existed before you could pull a teammate into a pregame lobby, or meet a friend for the first time on a virtual battlefield. As we look back on the launch of Xbox LIVE, we see the impact of this innovation in terms of the impact it’s had on the way we play games, and we thank Microsoft not only for the service, but for the opportunity to play a part in its success.
The first time I connected to Xbox Live was the moment after the midnight launch of Halo 2, where I picked up my Xbox console as well. Having such a simplistic way to compete online with such low latency was astounding. To this day, no one has topped what Xbox Live has become. For me, personally, Xbox Live was (and frankly still is) the easiest way to game with my friends, whether they're a few doors away, or a few miles.
Dac, Community Manager, reddit
Today, this anniversary will be celebrated not just by us, but by an industry. Millions of games will be played tonight over Xbox LIVE. Thousands of prepubescent voices will ring out over your headset, and you will suddenly silence them.
At Bungie, we try to keep it a bit more personal, dare we say, intimate. Below you’ll find a collection of memories from our fans on Bungie.net. Give ‘em a good read. Then log onto Xbox LIVE and kick some online ass.
It's weird that the game I'm experiencing is being experienced simultaneously by others around the world at the same time, and that we can actually converse about it at the same time. As a gamer, it's made me appreciate the games more.
Jacob Crawford, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE helped me have something in common with people in High School I normally wouldn't have talked to. It became a lot more social which helped me become more involved as I like the social interaction just as much as the games themselves.
vanert, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE forced me to see that one can forge valuable friendships online. I finally found a core group of guys that I could play with. I started enjoying the experience more, and I can honestly say that some of the people I feel most comfortable talking to now are people I initially met on Xbox Live.
Primo84, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE actually helped to make me more productive as a person, which is kind of strange in comparison to what you'd think. It was something to look forward to after a long day of work, and people I met motivated me to do what I do now in life.
SpAmMer, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE was the one asset that allowed me to grow as a gamer. Before Xbox Live, I was a naive young gamer who only knew the basics of gaming. After Xbox Live, I was a young gamer who knew the ins and out of strategy and gameplay. Without Xbox Live, I wouldn't be the gamer I am today.
EDOET, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE has allowed me to become more social around strangers, as well as give me the ability to sit down after a long day and unwind with some of the best friends I have ever had. I can also learn about the latest happenings in the gaming world and keep tabs on my favorite developers and publishers.
Kretos, Member, Bungie.net
I got Xbox LIVE the month it came out many years ago. It changed my universe in a way. It let me talk to people from across the entire planet. It let me run and gun with some incredible people. I learned what was acceptable behavior. I learned how to interact with different cultures. I learned that my world was just a small part of huge universe. I was 14 at the time and for a 14 year old I think that level of worldwide interaction is incredible.
EAGLES5, Member, Bungie.net
Playing games online has made me feel more connected to those around the globe. It's also changed the way I view games. Having played games competitively, I can honestly say it's made me more patient and far more team oriented.
Anti Gov420, Member, Bungie.net
When I was in a time of my life when I was young and didn't know how to make friends, Xbox Live taught me how to do that. When I was in a time of my life when I was older and had made some good friends, Xbox Live helped me keep in touch with them as I moved across the country.
Halo53, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE was really a whole new world for me. It didn't matter what time it was or what I felt like playing, there was always someone who wanted to play. I no longer had to wait for friends to come over to play with someone, and I could now play with a whole group of people not just four. I also didn't have to worry about brothers looking at my screen or playing on one fourth of a screen.
me123456789, Member, Bungie.net
Xbox LIVE has introduced me to a world of people that I've grown to call my friends. Interactions beyond XBL have allowed me develop bonds with people that go beyond an XBL party. I've celebrated births and mourned the death of friends, shared laughs, had arguments, and have given and received a lot of valuable advice on life. To me, XBL is more than just a means of gaming, it's a means of life.
chubbz, Member, Bungie.net
The crew at Official Xbox Magazine has dug deeper into the story of the people who created Xbox LIVE. Their account is on newsstands now. To look back on those developments through the eyes of Bungie veterans like Chris Butcher and Roger Wolfson, you should pay a visit to your local newsstand and check it out.