This page outlines major points in the Xbox’s history, including both official historical points and the Xbox hacking scene’s milestones.
For a comprehensive view of all of the Xbox exploits and how both Microsoft and hackers approached the security of the Xbox, see Xbox-Linux’s 17 Mistakes Microsoft Made in the Xbox Security System. The majority of this history is condensed from archived Xbox-Scene posts. Huge thanks to XanTium and GaryOPA for managing the front page news feed!
March 18th: Microsoft executives hold retreat at Semiahmoo Resort in Washington and discuss entering the video game business.
March ??th: Future Xbox Team members, Seamus Blackley, Kevin Bachus, Otto Berkes, and Ted Hase send an email to Bill Gates proposing an Xbox game console.
March 30th: The first formal meeting of the Xbox team is held.
April 16th: Microsoft Game Studios chief Ed Fries meets with the Xbox Team.
April 29th: Dave Kirk, chief scientist of Nvidia, visits Redmond to discuss game business.
May 5th: The Xbox Team meets with Bill Gates to present its plan to enter the video game industry with a PC-based console.
May 6th: The Xbox Team meets with Intel to discuss a console.
May 13th: The console takes on the code name "Project Midway", named after the World War II naval battle.
July 14th: The Xbox team meets with chip maker AMD.
July 21st: The Xbox gets official approval, and Rick Thompson is chosen to lead the group.
September: Consumer focus group testing begins.
December 21st: Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates approve delay of project until 2001.
February 14th: Final approval from Bill Gates for the Xbox.
March 10th: The Xbox is announced at the Game Developer’s Conference.
May 11th: Halo: Combat Evolved is unveiled at E3 2000.
June 19th: Microsoft acquires game developer Bungie for about $30 million.
July 27th: Xbox marketing budget set at $500 million.
July 31st: The first Xbox development kit (XDK) is released.
September 20th: It is publicly announced that "Xbox" is official product name and the Xbox logo is unveiled at a press conference in San Francisco, California.
September 23rd: Xbox-Scene, a popular Xbox and Xbox 360 news site, is created.
January 3rd: The Xbox is demonstrated by Bill Gates at the Consumer Electronics Show.
March 12th: Microsoft shows off first Xbox games at Gamestock.
November 12th: Xbox-Scene website is created in anticipation of the release of the Xbox.
November 15th: Xbox is released in North America for $299.99. Bill Gates gives away the first Xbox at Toys R Us in Times Square. Seamus Blackley proposes to his fiancée at the event.
November 20th: Andrew "bunnie" Huang, a graduate student at MIT, extracts the Xbox BIOS and begins a website detailing his exploration of the Xbox.
Late January: Bunnie extracts the bootloader decryption key, kernel decryption key, and magic check number; thus enabling the ability to run original code on the Xbox.
February 22nd: The Xbox is released in Japan.
March 14th: The Xbox is released in Australia and Europe.
April 19th: NEO-X, the would-be first Xbox modchip, is announced, promising to remove region locks on games.
April 23rd: Seamus Blackley, the co-creator of Xbox and widely seen as the project’s father, resigned from Microsoft,
April 25th: XBConnect v1.0, the first System Link tunneling program, is released.
April 28th: The S-type Controller is released in North America.
May 5th: Video proof is uploaded of the Xtender modchip, the first modchip to boot game backups.
May 8th: The Enigmah chip is announced. NEO-X receives legal threats from Microsoft and ends development.
May 4th: The first scene release group, ProjectX, releases the first 32 game ISOs online which were bootable on developer Xboxes.
May 15th: TechnoDevices releases the code to make a modchip to remove region locks on games.
May 22nd: The Enigmah chip takes pre-orders for $65USD.
May 23rd: Mist (Michael Steil) begins the Xbox-Linux project.
May 25th: The Xtender modchip becomes the first commercially available modchip and ships out.
May 26th: Bunnie releases a paper detailing all of his Xbox hacking exploits.
May 28th: The Enigmah modchip begins shipping out to retailers.
June 2nd: Xtender modchip BIOS image is cracked and leaked.
June 9th: XBPLAYER, a media player app, is released by RUNTiME and d703g4q.
June 16th: XBOXISOTOOL, an Xbox ISO extractor and builder, is released.
June 17th: A DOS tool, X-Box iSO .XBE File Cracker, is found on the game Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions. XBox Controller HID Minidriver is released, enabling anyone to use an Xbox controller on a PC with an adapter.
June 23rd: Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME-X) is released. The Enigmah modchip is discontinued.
June 26th: Xecuter modchip announced.
June 27th: An N64 emulator, Daedalus, is completed. The first 12-wire modchip, Pandorachip, begins production and is sold for $59.
June 28th: MAME-X stops official development due to legal issues.
June 30th: The first multi-BIOS TSOP mod is created by Arakon.
July 2nd: A $200,000 USD bounty is offered by an anonymous individual, later found to be Lindows developer Michael Robertson, for the booting of Linux (Project A - $100,000) and a full non-hardware system exploit or "softmod" (Project B - $100,000).
July 4th: The EvolutionX dashboard and BIOS are announced.
July 6th: An Xbox emulator on PC, CXBX, is announced. EvolutionX dashboard and BIOS are released.
July 7th: The first non-XDK program, a "Hello World", is released by the Xbox-Linux team.
July 11th: Voice chat is announced for Xbox Live.
July 12th: Quake 2 is ported to the Xbox, marking the first unofficial game port.
July 21st: The first file manager homebrew application, boXplorer, is released.
July 24th: The first homebrew game, XPong, is released.
July 29th: The X-ecuter DVDX application is released, allowing all regions of DVDs to be played with an official Xbox DVD dongle.
August 10th: The first debug Xbox BIOS for retail consoles is created.
August 11th: DVDX is updated to run DVDs without a dongle or remote.
August 13th: The Xbox-Linux team successfully boots the Linux kernel for the first time, satisfying the "Project A" requirement of the $200,000 bounty.
August 14th: The first solder-less modchip, later named Xodus, is announced.
August 16th: An x86 emulator, Bochs x86, is released. Windows 95 is booted on it.
September 10th: Px HDD Loader is released, allowing you to play Xbox games from the internal hard drive.
October 4th: The 128MB RAM mod is created.
October 6th: The Xbox-Linux team releases the first full Linux distribution for the Xbox.
October 7th: Xbins, a popular Xbox file sharing website, is created. Xbox Linux releases a distro with KDE and Gnome.
October 11th: The version 1.1 Xbox security is defeated.
October 21st: The Panzer Dragoon Orta Xbox is announced for exclusive purchase from Dreamcast Direct, an online Sega store.
October 24th: Unreal Championship’s "Go Live" option is found to install a new dashboard onto your console.
November 10th: The first legal homebrew development SDK, OpenXDK, is released for the Xbox.
November 15th: The Xbox Live online gaming service is released, modchipped Xboxes begin to get banned for playing online.
December 2nd: Xbox launches in Asia.
December 17th: The Xbox-Linux team releases the Cromwell BIOS, an open-source Linux bootloader ROM.
December 22nd: ConfigMagic, an EEPROM editor, is created.
January 16th: Xbox Live is launched in Japan.
January 30th: Xbox Saves instantly accessible saves database project is announced.
February 1st: Team Xodus announces the Chameleon modchip.
February 15th: The game cheating device, Action Replay, is announced for Xbox.
February 17th: Xbox-Linux sends an open letter to Microsoft asking to make an official version of Xbox Linux.
March 2nd: The version 1.2 Xbox is first spotted.
March 14th: Xbox Live is launched in Europe.
March 15th: A game cheating device, Mega X-Key, is released.
March 27th: The port of Gentoo Linux, called GentooX, is released.
March 29th: User habibi_xbox (David Jilli) announces a softmod game save exploit for the game "007: Agent Under Fire", claiming it can only run Linux. This satisfies the "Project B" requirements, awarding him a $100,000 bounty.
March 31st: The first Game Save Exploit softmod method is officially released by the Xbox-Linux team for the game "007: Agent Under Fire" (technical breakdown here). This is the first instance of unsigned code running without a modchip, allowing you to install Linux and still run Xbox games.
April 1st: The first episode of popular Halo machinima Red vs Blue is released.
April 16th: Avalaunch dashboard is released.
April 23rd: MAME on Xbox (MAMEoX) is released.
April 24th: The S-type controller becomes the standard controller sold with Xboxes in Europe.
May 6th: X-Link, a System Link tunneling program, is released.
May 28th: The version 1.3 Xbox is first spotted.
July 1st: Bunnie publishes his book, Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering, which covers the details of his exploits.
July 8th: USB support is added to Xbox Linux.
June 12th: The open-source Linux-based BIOS "Cromwell" is released by Team Xecuter.
June 16th: The 007: Agent Under Fire exploit is expanded upon and unsigned XBEs are booted with it.
June 17th: An Xbox save resigner, XSavSig, is released.
June 23rd: The second Game Save Exploit softmod is released, for MechAssault.
July 4th: Stefan Esser releases a security advisory detailing the release of the unsigned font exploit. Linux is successfully booted from the hard disk.
July 6th: "Bert & Ernie" font exploit (technical breakdown here) is released by a group known as Free-X, enabling softmods via hotswapping and permanent access to a softmod via the Game Save Exploit.
July 11th: The first instance of the "Clock Loop" was found when using the Bert & Ernie exploit and promptly fixed.
July 18th: Phoenix Bios Loader is released, making it possible to boot a BIOS from the hard drive or disc using any kernel.
July 31st: Modchips made illegal in Australia during case Stevens v Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment.
August 6th: NeXgen dashboard source code released.
August 11th: MechInstaller, a combination of the Game Save Exploit softmod and fonts exploit, is released for the game MechAssault. It was developed by Edgar "Gimli" Hueck, Franz "Solder" Lehner, Jeff "Kernel" Mears, Michael "Papa" Steil, Stefan "Exploit" Esser, and Kermit the Frog.
August 28th: oz_paulb announces a patch to enable hard drives larger than 137GB. XSN Sports, an online service that provided private leagues and tournaments for sports games, was released. XSN Sports supported Amped 2, Links 2004, NBA Inside Drive 2004, NFL Fever 2004, NHL Rivals 2004, Rallisport Challenge 2, and Top Spin.
August 29th: Sylver77 releases patch to make the official dashboard’s DVD player region free.
August 30th: X-Link updated to allow System Link tunneling for homebrew applications and games.
September 11th: The Xbox Live 2.0 Dashboard is released.
September 17th: The version 1.4 Xbox is first spotted in Sweden, and the version 1.5 Xbox (a 1.4 without power or ground pins connected on the LPC) is reportedly spotted in Hong Kong.
September 23rd: The first Xbox Live 2.0 dashboard, tHc dashboard, is released.
September 24th: FriendTech announces the 1.4GHz CPU mod.
October 1st: Xbox Media Center (XBMC) is released.
October 6th: Qwix (previously xISO xFER) is released by Devenic.
October 8th: Xbox Live launches in Australia.
October 18th: Xbox Live launches in Ireland.
October 27th: X-Link announces their official name rebranding "X-Link Kai".
October 30th: Xbox Live launches in South Korea. The first two Xbox games with voice-command technology are released: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 and SWAT: Global Strike Team. Microsoft of Japan announces a sweepstakes for up to 2,000 winners to win one of six "X" overlays designed by popular Japanese illustrators Tadanobu Asano, Moyoko Anno, Naohiro Ukawa, NIGO, Jun Miura, and Katsura Wakano. These overlays are essentially a plastic shell that covers the large X on the top of the Xbox. This page contains the original advertisement on Microsoft’s website for the sweepstakes.
November 26th: The first Xbox Live DLC is released, the Objective Package for MechAssault.
November 27th: UnleashX dashboard is released anonymously.
December 24th: Ed’s Linux distribution, Xebian 1.0, is released.
December 28th: The third Game Save Exploit softmod method is unveiled at the 20th Chaos Communication Conference (20C3) by Andrew "bunnie" Huang and Michael Steil of the Xbox-Linux project, which uses the game "Splinter Cell".
January 15th: Xenium modchip by Team OzXodus ships out.
February 22nd: Xenium modchip releases LCD support.
March 7th: LinksBoks web browser released.
March 21st: The first wireless Xbox controller by Logitech is announced.
March 24th: Microsoft reveals a games development platform, XNA (which stands for "XNA’s Not Acronymed") for the unannounced Xbox successor.
March 27th: The XIR IR remote power control kit is released.
April 3rd: The first confirmed game for the Xbox successor and PlayStation 3 is Dark Sector.
April 9th: Yoshihiro releases 512k debug BIOS.
April 11th: The first natively coded Xbox emulator, a Sinclair ZX Spectrum emulator, is announced.
April 13th: XBMC is ported to PC, marking the first port from Xbox to another system.
April 19th: XboxHDM, a small Linux distro for managing Xbox hard drives, is released.
May 1st: The version 1.6 Xbox is first spotted.
May 4th: Angerwound releases the Double-Dash Font Exploit, which works by essentially replacing xonlinedash.xbe with a pre-live dashboard that can be exploited.
May 19th: Devz3ro and PedrosPad release the Easter Egg Exploit, the first exploit to work with Xbox Live 2.0. It uses the audio player’s <<Eggsßox>> easter egg.
May 22nd: PedrosPad and Rmenhal create the Ultimate Dashboard Exploit (UDE), which exploits update.xbe to allow the booting of a habibi signed XBE, with no risk of a clock loop.
June 18th: Yoshihiro releases 256k debug BIOS.
June 20th: Rmenhal releases NKpatcher, a BIOS patcher that supports dual-booting, in-game reset, virtual EEPROM, shadow C, and the ability to run non-retail XBEs.
July 4th: BlackStormX dashboard is released.
July 6th: EvoX M8 BIOS is released.
July 15th: Xbox Live reaches 1 million subscribers.
July 21st: DASH2GAM dashboard is released by 2GAM.
August 3rd: XBpartitioner is released by NghtShd.
August 6th: Cheapmod modchips created for the version 1.6 Xbox.
August 13th: Xbox Controller Driver (XBCD) is released for Windows.
August 22nd: NeoDashX dashboard released.
September 1st: IND BIOS released.
September 6th: Sega Chihiro games are successfully booted on the Xbox.
September 13th: Dashboard Switcher is released.
September 25th: Xecuter 3 modchips begin shipping out.
September 29th: PedrosPad releases the Über Xbe Exploit (UXE), an exploit similar to UDE but for all region consoles.
October 2nd: tHc Dashboard is renamed to Xbox Dash Next and released.
October 14th: A French copy of Halo 2 leaks online 26 days before launch.
November 3rd: The version 1.6b Xbox is first spotted.
November 6th: Xbox Live Arcade is launched.
November 9th: Halo 2 is released, selling 2.4 million copies in a single day and setting the record for the highest gross for an entertainment product within the first 24 hours of sale, at $125 million. The game later became the all-time highest selling media product, outselling all previous game, music, and movie products.
November 16th: SpiderChip solderless modchip announced.
December 9th: Xecuter 2.6CE modchip begins shipping.
December 12th: Auto-Installer Deluxe disc released.
January 5th: An Xbox (presumably with a Foxlink power supply) causes an extensive house fire, prompting the owner to sue Microsoft.
January 9th: 007: Agent Under Fire, MechAssault, and Splinter Cell game saves are made using Uber XBE Exploit (UXE).
January 27th: X-Changer modchip is released, with an open source BIOS.
February 2nd: Softmod Installer Deluxe (SID) is released.
February 17th: Microsoft announces power cord replacement program for Xbox manufactured prior to October 23, 2003, as a remedy to the poor solder joints found in Foxlink power supplies. Over 30 serious cases of damage are reported, 7 of which caused burns on users’ hands, prompting Microsoft to replace 14.1 million power cords. Microsoft denies any fault in the Xbox and blames the power cord.
March 28th: Xbox Damn Small Linux (X-DSL) is released.
April 28th: Anod-X released by Team Gueux.
May 5th: Microsoft offers a hacking challenge to win an Xbox. The goal is to hack "hackiis6.com" and deface it or capture the hidden document.
May 12th: The Xbox 360 is unveiled on MTV, confirming leaked data including the name, the logo, the wireless controllers, the system specs, and the console design. Original Xbox games are demonstrated on the system, confirming backwards compatibility. The official Xbox 360 website, Xbox360.com, opens its doors.
June 13th: Xbox Live Arcade launches in Europe.
June 29th: Opendash, an open-source Xbox dashboard, is released.
July 20th: Xbox Live reaches 2 million subscribers.
July 26th: FreeBSD is ported to the Xbox.
August 7th: SpiderGX modchip announced.
August 12th: Krayzie NDURE Installer, a softmod installer that uses NDURE (Next dimension uber rmenhal exploit), is released. This allows dual booting of a softmod and unmodified dashboard.
September 6th: Mimesis, a homebrew content distribution app, is released by AngryCamel.
September 17th: Team UIX releases XBE Shortcut Maker.
October 5th: Aladdin XT Plus2 (XenoFX), a budget modchip, is announced.
October 6th: The Australian Stevens v Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment case is taken to High Court and it is ruled that Sony’s PlayStation was designed to prevent illegal copies of games being played, and was not designed to prevent illegal copying. Because of this, it does not qualify as a "technological protection measure" (TPM) device as they claimed and thus modchips are declared legal in Australia again.
November 22nd: The Xbox 360 is released in North America.
December 2nd: The Xbox 360 is released in Europe.
December 10th: The Xbox 360 is launched in Japan.
December 30th: TheSpecialist releases an Xbox DVD drive unlocker software.
January 7th: Rymez2K successfully transfers a game save from the original Xbox to Xbox 360.
January 31st: TheSpecialist announces that he has created hacked DVD firmware for the H-L 8050L drive which allows the booting of unmodified games on burned discs. No release is made.
February 13th: Xplorer360 is released.
March 11th: Xenium Gold modchip begins shipping out, coated in 24 karat gold.
April 6th: Ubuntu is ported to Xbox.
April 22nd: Commodore4eva (c4eva) releases the first cracked DVD firmware for the Xbox’s Samsung SDG-605B/616T/616F DVD drive.
August 1st: BreinJ releases Xbox Save Parser.
June 4th: The Xbox is discontinued in Japan.
September 15th: XSN Sports officially shuts down.
November 28th: FrostyTheSnowman releases "Frosty’s BIOS".
December 21st: The last Xbox game in Japan, NBA Live 07, is released.
March 4th: Shonk releases a game patcher to enable 1GHz CPU support on games to allow games to run at the correct speed.
March 11th: The Xbox is discontinued in Europe.
May 18th: FrostyTheSnowman releases a dual-boot VGA-enabled softmod.
May 29th: Team-XBMC announces their intentions to port XBMC to Linux and seeks out developers.
June 29th: The last Xbox game in Europe, Xiaolin Showdown, is released.
March 23rd: ShadowTj begins Dxbx, a port of Cxbx to the Delphi programming language.
August 12th: The last Xbox game in North America, Madden NFL 09, is released.
March 2nd: The Xbox is discontinued in North America and out-of-warranty support is dropped completely.
October 13th: The BIOS of the Sega Chihiro, the arcade system based off of the Xbox, is dumped by Alex of amusements-shop.com.
February 7th: Dxbx, an original Xbox emulator based on Cxbx, releases it’s alpha build.
April 7th: Modifying a video game console is declared punishable by up to 10 years in jail in Canada.
April 15th: Xbox Live on the original Xbox is shut down.
May 28th: Team XBMC gives a farewell to the Xbox scene, handing off development to Arnova.
July 9th: KeepForgettingLogin creates /r/OriginalXbox.
October 8th: XBSlink is released, allowing system-link enabled multiplayer over the Internet.
May 22nd: A new version of XBMC is released, rebranding to XBMC4XBOX.
January 26th: Bunnie and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) write an open letter to Maria Pallante, the U.S. Register of Copyrights to renew the jailbreak exemption clause in DMCA legislation, and to expand it to cover all electronic gadgets, including video game consoles.
March 25th - June 21st: Xbox-Scene has a news blackout due to XanTium leaving. GaryOPA takes over news feed.
July 16th: XBMC is ported to Android.
August 23rd: Themaister and Squarepusher/Twin Aphex release an official build of RetroArch for Xbox and Xbox 360.
March 8th: Bunnie rereleases his book for free on his website in memory of Aaron Swartz.
May 21st: Microsoft announces the Xbox One.
June 6th: Microsoft announces that the Xbox One must be connected to the Internet every 24 hours, game discs cannot be used on multiple consoles, and that the Kinect must always be connected.
June 22nd: Microsoft responds to the backlash of the Xbox community and backtracks on DRM lockdowns, allowing used game discs to be used, removing the always-online requirement, and removing region locks.
January 23rd: Modchips are made legal in the European Union under Case C‑355/12 (Nintendo Co. Ltd v PC Box Srl).
April 23rd: Rocky5 begins work on XBMC4Kids (later renamed XBMC4Gamers), a modification of XBMC to present a "cover flow" layout for games.
October 11th: The Xbox-Scene website shuts down.
January 13th: It’s announced that TheFallen93 is working on an Xbox Live restoration project for the original Xbox, a project later handed to Kiwidog and then the Xbox Dev group. Please do not bother them for updates, this project will take a long time and status updates will be given.
April 5th: The fourth Game Save Exploit softmod method is created by Grimdoomer, which uses the game "Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4".
April 20th: The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 exploit is added to the Xbox Softmodding Tool.
August 7th: Rocky5 begins the XBMC-Emustation project, a slick emulator front-end based on XBMC.
February 19th: RetroArch is officially brought back to the original Xbox with version 1.7.1.
March 10th: Rocky5 releases XBMC-Emustation 1.0, an emulator front-end dashboard based on XBMC. It also includes a homebrew and mods distribution system.
December 15th: Ryzee119 releases the source for the OGX360, a device to play the original Xbox using an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller.
September 28th: Ryzee119 posts an image of a working homebrew Xenium chip which would later become the OpenXenium. D October 29th: Ryzee119 releases the hardware and software source for his OpenXenium modchip.
February 24th: A prototype Xbox/DLP Projector is spotted on eBay. This likely was a prototype made by Dolby, not Microsoft.
August 26th: LoveMHz announces the XboxHDMI (previously called Project Pineapple) - the first fully digital video output solution for the Xbox.
October 2nd: The FBI announces that Max Louarn (MAXiMiLiEN) and Gary Bowser (GaryOPA from MaxConsole) of Team Xecuter were arrested and extradited to the United States to be charged with 11 felonies including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to circumvent technological measures and to traffic in circumvention devices, trafficking in circumvention devices, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is apparent that Nintendo may have instigated this case as the article makes many mentions to Nintendo devices, especially SX OS on the Nintendo Switch.
December 16th: ConsoleMods.org is started in private.
January 1st: ConsoleMods.org is publicly launched.
January 26th: CerBIOS — a new BIOS that supports 8TB hard drives, 128MB RAM, ISO files, and a custom boot animation — is announced.
February 7th: CerBIOS is released.
- Release date of Slayers/Hexen, Chimp
- Release date and author of the st.db audio exploit (before July 22, 2003)
- NKpatcher and UDE2 release dates
- Rocky’s Softmod
- The date xqemu was forked