First announced back in November, Microsoft's documentary covering the development, launch, and multiple generations of its popular gaming console is now streaming online for free. Microsoft commissioned "Power On: The Story of Xbox (opens in new tab)" to commemorate the 20th birthday of the Xbox, which in 2001 entered the console market to battle the PlayStation 2 head-to-head.
The best thing about the documentary is that it's free for everyone to watch and is available across many streaming platforms. Although most people will probably watch it via YouTube, it's also available to watch directly from Microsoft on The Roku Channel, Redbox (opens in new tab) and IMDbTV. There are a total of six chapters, which are each around 41 minutes in length (YouTube links below):
- Chapter 1: The Renegades
- Chapter 2: The Valentine's Day Massacre
- Chapter 3: And It Didn't Turn On
- Chapter 4: Cool…Now What?
- Chapter 5: The Red Ring of Death
- Chapter 6: TV…Or Not TV
"Xbox almost didn't happen. Find out why in this behind-the-scenes, six-part series that takes you back to the scrappy beginnings of Microsoft's video game console," writes Microsoft. "It's the untold story of the people behind the box, glitches and all."
As you might expect from a wide-ranging look at the Xbox's history, the highs and lows are included for all to see. There is plenty of embarrassing coverage in the documentary in the latter case, including Microsoft's failed attempts to acquire Nintendo and the Xbox 360 Red Ring of Death (RRoD) fiasco that cost the company roughly $1.5 billion. If you owned an Xbox 360 and experienced the RRoD, we feel your pain.
And speaking of the RRoD, you can get in on the fun (or make that misery) with a tongue-in-cheek premium print poster that Microsoft is offering in the Xbox Gear Shop. The $24.99 poster (opens in new tab) measures 18 inches by 24 inches and features an ominous RRoD staring back at you, almost as a sinister homage to the murderous HAL 9000 from "2001: A Space Odyssey."
If you're a gamer at heart, we suggest you clear some time out from your busy schedule to give Microsoft's Xbox documentary a look. I'm halfway through the first episode, and I'm already hooked.