Microsoft Releases Documentary About the History of Xbox

Posted on December 13, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox with 7 Comments

“Power On: The Story of Xbox,” a free, six-part documentary about the history of Xbox, is now available for viewing worldwide.

“This six-part docuseries takes you back to the scrappy beginnings at Microsoft, where a passionate group of renegades with a hungry entrepreneurial spirit kicked off the first generation of Xbox,” Microsoft director Tina Summerford writes. “As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Xbox this year, we invite you behind-the-scenes for this first-ever comprehensive and authentic history of Xbox, where you’ll hear directly from the team that lived through the compelling and challenging 20-year journey.”

Each episode in the series covers a specific chapter from Xbox history. Chapters include:

  • The Renegades
  • The Valentine’s Day Massacre
  • And It Didn’t Turn On
  • Cool … Now What?
  • The Red Ring of Death
  • TV … Or Not TV

The series is available on RedboxYouTubeIMDbTV, The Roku Channel, Microsoft Movies & TV, and elsewhere, in 30 languages including audio descriptions in English.

You can learn more about “Power On: The Story of Xbox” on the Microsoft News website and from the Power On website.

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (7)

7 responses to “Microsoft Releases Documentary About the History of Xbox”

  1. beckoningeagle

    Thanks for the tip, almost finished watching it. Really well made with good interviews. It looks like it will have multiple seasons unless the last 2 episodes very quickly summarize the red-ring-of-death and the rest of all the XBox hardware in two episodes.

    Cool to see some of the things that are now considered commonplace came to fruition with the XBox, including an app store, achievements among other stuff.

  2. beckoningeagle

    Well, spoiler alert!!!

    They did tie all the loose ends. It's a good watch.

  3. jg1170

    As a die-hard fan of SEGA, I truly lament the fact that Microsoft "chose" to enter the gaming world. I will always believe that Microsoft crowded SEGA out of the video game console market. Most people blame SEGA's catastrophic business decisions that led to an abrupt bankruptcy, which is true, but I always say that in the absence of Microsoft (meaning only Nintendo and Sony asymmetrically battling it out) some entity would have certainly rescued the too-valuable SEGA brand and kept making game consoles to continue being the third horse. As we've seen many times, there almost always seems to be room for three (or 2.5) viable software ecosystems, but never, ever four, and that's why I feel Microsoft most certainly muscled away SEGA's seat at the table. Not that I detest X-Box or anything, just that I love SEGA's rich gaming history and quirkiness and I feel they had a more much legitimate claim to seat #3.

    • christianwilson

      When Xbox launched, it felt like they moved into a spot Sega was already stepping out of. I think Dreamcast may have stuck around a little longer had Microsoft not come onto the scene with Xbox, but I think Sega's exit from the console business was inevitable.

      It can't be understated just how much momentum the original PlayStation had compared to Sega Saturn. Sega stumbled with Saturn, kind of recovered with Dreamcast, but couldn't shake off Sony's quick dominance in the console space.

      It is sad the Dreamcast wasn't more popular. It had a lot of great ideas and unique games.

      • jg1170

        There's no way to know of course, but I am personally convinced that SEGA was not on the way out as so many gaming historians love to claim. I remember those days clearly (even though I didn't have a Dreamcast...back then...too busy with college...but I got two dreamcasts many years later when they were worthless!). The company was bankrupt by their own hand, sure, but the brand was still very strong and in my mind somebody with very deep pockets would have certainly rescued it for console profiteering purposes...if not for the fact that Microsoft was already casting a very heavy shadow onto that third seat at the 3-seat table, and that shadow was probably enough to dissuade any potential rescuers. I say three seats because I personally cannot imagine a situation where only Sony and Nintendo were out there going head to head with each other. Nintendo does not see hardware like Sony does and Nintendo had firmly staked its place as the oddball company that doesn't want to step in the ring with the cutting-edge tech big boys but instead relies on their unbeatable IP and kid-friendly titles to sell their wares. They tried the head-to-head battle one last time with the GameCube and had their butts handed to them. I have noticed that in any ecosystem war there are always two champs and one oddball (Genesis/SNES/TG-16) (Windows/MacOS/Linux) (iOS/Android/Windows Phone oops bad example because apparently for smartphones two ecosystems was all the market could handle!) But for Video games I do believe there are exactly three available seats, and if Microsoft had just kept to the office world, I do believe SEGA would wave been kept alive. So yeah, I blame the Direct-X team for our tragic loss lol and barring some recovered SEGA memos, that's my story an I'm sticking to it. But it's all just fun conjecture of course :-).

        • christianwilson

          Haha, that's a fair assessment. So, do you think Sega would have been acquired by another company or stayed independent but received a cash infusion through investment by a larger organization?

          I have also seen the console space as a three seat table, though now I wonder if that is going to change. Sony isn't leaving, Microsoft isn't, Nintendo isn't. Now we have all these cloud services floating around. I'm wondering where they are going to fit in or if cloud gaming is categorically different from consoles.

          • jg1170

            It's all speculation, but due to how bad it got for SEGA financially, I would guess that they would have been acquired by some big fish (Japanese juggernaut?) and all the subsequent gaming products (most likely a rushed Dreamcast 2 with backward compatibility so as to not alienate the few that believed/invested in the first Dreamcast) would bear the SEGA name, but SEGA itself would probably just be a branch of a larger entity and probably not too independent at all. But alas that didn't happen, not with MS showing their intentions. I can't think of any company besides Microsoft with the clout to brazenly slap their own name on a brand new console in 2001 and get away with it. Well, Apple, I guess, but their business principles are almost incompatible with the gaming world. I think the reason why there are only ever three (lasting) console gaming contenders is that the consumer hates too many incompatible ecosystems, and so do developers. So people holding their breath for a fourth entrant into the current console war are delusional in my opinion. In fact, consoles and PCs are all quickly converging and merging into a streaming/download/subscription smorgasbord of cross-compatible multiplayer gaming, so I think every console war that could be fought has basically been fought. Sure amazon, Apple, Google are all getting in the pool, but not with traditional console hardware. So I think that it's going to be the same three horses for at least another decade.