As Microsoft developed the original Xbox console, online gaming was designated as one of the key pillars for the greater Xbox strategy.
Sega had made an attempt to capitalize on the ever-growing online gaming scene when it launched the Dreamcast video game console in 1999, including online support as standard, called Sega Net and Dreamarena.
Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates both had a vision of making premium download content and add-ons that would attract many new customers.
Based on this reasoning, the console included a standard Ethernet port (10/100) in order to provide connectivity to common broadband networks, but did not include a modem or any dial-up support, and its online service was designed to support broadband users only.
An updated version of the service became available for the Xbox 360 console at the system's launch in November 2005, and a further enhanced version was released in 2013 with the Xbox One.
The service was extended in 2007 on the Windows platform, named Games for Windows – Live, which makes most aspects of the system available on Windows computers.
The packaging for playable Xbox Live titles on the original Xbox console featured the trademark gold bar underneath the Xbox header.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell and Brute Force sported a Live "bubble" design, as they only featured downloadable content.Critics scoffed at it, citing poor broadband adoption at the turn of the century.Xbox Live was finally given a name at E3 2002 when the service was unveiled in its entirety.The online features, while praised as innovative, were largely considered a failure, and the Dreamcast's immediate competitor, the Play Station 2, did not initially ship with built-in networking capabilities.Microsoft, however, hoped that the Xbox would succeed where the Dreamcast had failed.In February 2013, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, shared that Xbox Live members now number 46 million, up 15 percent from a year ago, during the Dive into Media conference in Southern California.