Xbox marks 20th anniversary with six-part documentary ‘Power On: The Story of Xbox’

"It was held together by chewing gum and tape"

Xbox is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a new documentary series set to chart the origins of Microsoft’s once-ridiculed console project.

Called Power On: The Story of Xbox, the series was announced during the Xbox Anniversary Celebration livestream. The show will be a six-episode special event that will speak with key figures involved in developing the original console.


Xbox head of programming Tina Summerford said that the project began “almost three years ago” and stemmed from asking the question, “Is there a compelling story behind the history of Xbox?” Xbox partnered with “an Emmy Award-winning documentary film team” to tell that story “from the team that lived it”.

Briefly seen in the trailer for the series are Xbox “founders” Otto Berkes, Ted Hase, Seamus Blackley, and Kevin Bachus, referred to as “these guys from the DirectX team”. The group had pushed for Microsoft to get into the console space as a competitor to Sony’s imminent PlayStation 2.

The documentary looks to be a ‘warts and all’ tale, too, as it’s set to address the problems Microsoft has had with the platform over the last two decades, from embarrassing conference showcases to the notorious “Red Ring of Death” crisis that affected Xbox 360 consoles. It’s also set to explore the controversial ‘Duke’ controller for the original Xbox and the impact of titles such as Halo, Gears of War, and Forza.

Power On: The Story of Xbox is set to debut on December 13 “across a variety of streaming platforms”. This so far includes Roku, IMDb, YouTube, Redbox, and “others”, although at the time of writing, other platforms, along with international availability, have not been confirmed.

In related news, head of Xbox Phil Spencer has spoken of his regret at announcing Halo Infinite as an Xbox Series X|S launch title, saying, “I don’t like that we showed the game, talked about it launching at the launch of the consoles. And then, within a month, we had moved it.”