Xbox launch

Xbox Series X (and S) launches today, 333 days after its unveiling, with monolithic art installations around the world

It’s been one hell of the year. Packed with enough uncertainty for a decade. But one thing has stayed with us throughout the trials and tribulations of the last 12 months, and that’s been the Xbox Series X.

Xbox’s black monolith, first shown to the world back at the Game Awards in December of last year, has been the most foreshadowed launch of a console device ever. And in a year like this, the certainty that the big black box would be with us come the end of the year has been a reassuring one.

While the addition of the Series S was no surprise (possibly 2020’s worst kept secret), it’s certainly a brave and exciting new development to have two consoles at launch.

And now it’s all actually happened, with launch events around the world to celebrate the beginning of a new console generation. A huge congratulations to Microsoft and Xbox and all its partners for delivering the console on time under what must have been difficult conditions.

The launch has been marked with numerous, outdoor lighting installations, with each projecting graphics on a black Xbox Series X shaped monolith to impressive effect.

The launch kicked off in New Zealand, with Queenstown becoming Greenstown for the day, with a monolith placed on its waterfront. A similar installation is being shown in London on the Southbank. Toronto will have a 40ft console floating in its harbour, while in the a similar monolith will appear in Washington State.

All of these, and many more, a total of seven, are being tied together into an online competition: 7 Countries. 7 Glyphs. 1 Answer.​ Can you Decode the Dream? #SolveforX

Meanwhile, teams of influencers and Xbox staff from around the globe will appear on official livestreams across the 24 hours. Plus there’s a virtual fanfest online with discussion of launch titles, enhanced titles and prizes to be won.

Given the unusual circumstances of the launch in a pandemic, Microsoft couldn’t rely on the usual queues and crowds at fan events to form the backdrop to the launch. Although arguably a modern console launch largely happens on YouTube and Twitch anyway these days.

Back in the UK it appears that some retailers had very limited stock of the consoles to sell, although these disappeared quickly as far as we can see. Analysts expect the console to be in high demand, with limited availability, through until March at the earliest.

If you haven’t already read our full Xbox Series X review on how it will serve the industry.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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