On November 15, 2001, Microsoft released its first video game console, the original Xbox, in the U.S. as the final result of growing concerns that Sony's 1999 announcement of the Playstation 2 as a multimedia player could challenge the standing of the personal computer in that sector. To celebrate that anniversary, Xbox has not only released themed peripherals but has also made the beta version of the multiplayer mode of its upcoming first-person shooter Halo: Infinite available for free. The hopes of the long-running franchise again driving system sales is not unfounded, as our chart shows.
According to data from VGChartz, the first and second installments of the Halo series were the best-selling games for Microsoft's original Xbox by a wide margin, shifting eight and five million units, respectively. Halo 2 is not only the most successful but also the youngest game on this top 8 list, with Need for Speed Underground 2 releasing on the same day but selling almost six million units less. Especially in light of recent events, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind cracking the top five is also a notable fact. The studio behind the Elder Scrolls series, Bethesda, was bought by the tech giant in March and the newest entry The Elder Scrolls VI will almost certainly be released first on Xbox Series X and S as well as PC before coming to the current-gen console of Microsoft's biggest competitor, Sony's Playstation 5, at a later point.
When put into context, Microsoft's first foray into "couch gaming" doesn't seem that successful though: Until the end of its life cycle in 2009, it had only sold roughly 25 million units. While it did outsell the then-current-gen competitor by Nintendo, the Gamecube, by three million, the Playstation 2 blew both of these consoles out of the water. From its launch in 2000 to its discontinuation in 2013, 158 million units of the various iterations of the console were sold worldwide, making it the best-selling video game console of all time.