2000 - This is where the true story for Xbox begins. Bill Gates unveiled Microsoft’s vision of the future of home gaming consoles, and it was called Xbox. There was no final hardware shown, though a beautiful polished silver X-shaped behemoth was revealed to be a prototype. There was also a near-ten minute demo of Halo alongside other games very early in development shown off.
2001 - We caught a glimpse of the production Xbox model at E3 2001, when it was revealed that the hardware would have three major launch titles: Halo, Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssee, Project Gotham Racing. Unreal Championship and Age of Mythology would also launch on the PC that year, but people were mostly in awe of what would become the Xbox’s biggest title, Halo.
2002 - Microsoft launched a second platform of sorts at E3 2002, and it is still alive and well today. Banking on live internet multiplayer being the future, Microsoft’s inclusion of an ethernet port in the Xbox hardware allowed them to release Xbox Live within the first year of the console’s release. That year also saw the stunning Japanese exclusive Panzer Dragoon Orta and the game that would require a 40-button controller, Steel Battalion.
2003 - E3 2003 marked a year where two more iconic games were announced. Both the Fable and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic got their start on Microsoft’s console, and both franchises are alive today. Halo 2 was also announced at the show, though it was later revealed that the graphics showcased in the nine-minute demo were never feasible as a full game.
2004 - In the year that Halo 2 actually released (it came out in November of that year), Microsoft also showed off the Xbox Live Arcade platform as well as Forza Motorsport and Half-Life 2 for the console. This year was relatively light as the rest of the world awaited new console announcements.
2005 - At E3 2005, the public got its wish as Microsoft unveiled Xbox 360 and virtually killed the original Xbox instantly in the process. The list of launch titles for the console included Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Peter Jackson’s King Kong, a tie-in with the movie released that year. The console was also used to show off Gears of War, though it wouldn’t launch until nearly a year and a half later.
2006 - Gears of War was finally shown off in its nearest-to-final form at E3 2006, and Microsoft managed to tease another huge franchise in the process, BioShock. The Games for Windows platform was also announced with Halo 2 as its front-running title for Windows Vista. Needless to say, the platform didn’t fare very well.
2007 - The Call of Duty franchise seems like it has had yearly instalments for the past thirty years, but it wasn’t until E3 2007 that people really started to take notice. This was the year that Modern Warfare was announced, bringing the franchise to the Microsoft stage for the first of many Call of Duty introductions. Oh, and Halo 3 was announced. No biggie.
2008 - The year of the sequel for Microsoft was E3 2008. We were treated to Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Modern Warfare 2, and Final Fantasy XIII. Okay, that last one isn’t exactly a second instalment, but you get the picture. This was largely a year for Microsoft to keep the money rolling in while they developed other innovations.
2009 - E3 2009 was when we would see those other innovations. Introduced as Project Natal (and later renamed to the much more consumer-friendly ‘Kinect’), Microsoft made a bet on controller-free gaming (a bet they eventually lost, we think). Halo 3: ODST was also announced, albeit as Halo 3: Recon.
2010 - Our first time sitting in a press event in person, E3 2010 represented the announcement of a new, slimmer Xbox 360 (which they gave to everyone in the audience), the official release of Kinect (later that year), and the final instalment of Bungie’s work on Halo with Reach.
2011 - This was the year that Microsoft tried to give us even more sequels than 2008, and it was what we called the Threequel. Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 3, and Gears of War 3 all hit Microsoft’s Xbox 360 E3 Media Briefing. We also got a wicked collection of old and new Halo content with The Master Chief Collection and a surprise announcement of Halo 4.
2012 - In 2012, Microsoft opened the show with a mind-blowing Halo 4 campaign demo, and while it was short, it was enough to whet everyone’s appetites. The company also had Call of Duty: Black Ops II at their conference, as well as a fresh take on Forza with the more casual Forza Horizon.
2013 - About a month before E3 2013, Microsoft held its Xbox One reveal event, showcasing its new Xbox One home console and an all-new Kinect sensor. We were also reassured that 343 Industries is indeed working on a next-generation Halo game while Microsoft teased new series Ryse: Son of Rome and Titanfall, both debuting on the new console.
2014 - At this outing in Los Angeles, Microsoft officially announced Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer beta (the game had been announced a few months before), Project Spark, and a new Crackdown game. During the show, though not at their conference, it was also announced that Gears of War is now in the hands of newly-formed Black Tusk Studios, now known as The Coalition.
2015 - This was the year that Xbox first showed off Halo 5 Guardians single-player gameplay, announced new IP like Recore (Keiji Inafune) and Sea of Thieves (RARE), while generating hype around the new Forza Motorsport 6 and Gears of War 4. Of course, this will also go down as the year Phil Spencer introduced backwards compatibility of Xbox 360 games on Xbox One, one of the most crowd-pleasing moments of any E3. Ever.
2016 - Team Xbox kicked off E3 2016 by announcing what everyone thought was coming: a slim Xbox One with improved visuals by way of HDR support, codenamed Project Scorpio. What they didn't expect was that Scorpio was actually an entirely separate project to produce the most powerful console ever. Oh, and they stuffed the two console sandwich announcement with games like Final Fantasy XV, Halo Wars 2, Forza Horizon 3, and Tom Clancy's The Division. Not bad.
2017 - Fully announcing Project Scorpio as Xbox One X, this was Team Xbox's first conference without a mainline Halo or Gears of War game announced or teased. Third parties dominated Microsoft's conference this year, with Metro: Exodus and Assassin's Creed: Origins taking centre stage. EA rounded out the show with an announcement and gameplay demo of their new MMO shooter, Anthem. Original Xbox backward compatibility also made a brief appearance to thunderous applause.
2018 - Microsoft opened E3 2018 by announcing that it would be their biggest yet. They showed off over 50 games, had 18 world exclusives (however they decide to count those is still up in the air), and 15 world premieres. They showed off all-new Halo and Gears of War titles, as well as announced the acquisition of five new game studios, and then they closed out the show with CD Project Red's Cyberpunk 2077 in stunning fashion.
(Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Microsoft/AP Images)