Xbox Live Celebrates 10 Years of Connecting Gamers

Chelsea Stark
50 Winning Holiday Gifts for Gamers
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1. Triforce Lamp

Thursday marks the tenth anniversary of Xbox Live, Microsoft's online gaming platform for the Xbox and the Xbox 360.

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For the last decade, Xbox Live has offered both a marketplace and online play space for gamers. It started in 2002 on Microsoft's original Xbox console; Xbox spokeperson Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, said it launched with games like Ghost Recon, MechAssault and NFL Fever.

Now Xbox Live serves as a complete entertainment package for the Xbox 360. Players can still compete online and connect with others, but can also access all kinds of other services through their Xbox 360 as the console moves to position itself as a living room centerpiece. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, HBO Go, ESPN and NBA Live, as well as on-demand movies from Zune. During this year's election, Xbox Live offered full access to the debates and election coverage, thanks to a partnership with NBC.

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There are about 30 million Xbox Live subscribers, each with their own unique gamertag. Xbox Live was instrumental in the widespread adoption of achievements on games, which players unlocked for completing different in-game challenges. According to Hyrb's Twitter account, gamers have unlocked 14.5 billion achievements in the past decade.

Xbox Live is the only online network on consoles that charges its users, at $60 a pop for a 12-month subscription.

To celebrate today's anniversary, some long-time Xbox Live subscribers are receiving special edition Xbox 360s, according to Hyrb's Twitter feed. Hyrb is also giving out one-year subscriptions to Xbox Live on his Twitter all day Thursday.

Do you have fond memories of playing Xbox Live in the past decade? Please share them with us in the comments.

BONUS: Holiday Gifts Perfect for Gamers

1. Triforce Lamp

Know a Zelda fan in need of some power, wisdom and courage? This beautiful wood and acrylic lamp can be hung or shelved. The pixelated carvings on each side warm the room with dappled light. Price: $95.00

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy Rodrigo Denúbila, Flickr.

This story originally published on Mashable here.