The Microsoft Xbox 360 is five years old this week, having launched in the US and Canada on 22 November 2005.

Microsoft UK may be planning its own celebrations for the UK birthday on 2 December, and if so we'll be sure to bring you further news on that when we get it.

Five years young

For now, it is remarkable to look back over how far the company has come in console gaming in such a short period of time.

The first 'high definition' console arrived on the market on 22 November 2005 in the US and Canada, with a cracking launch line-up of games, including Bizarre Creation's Project Gotham Racing 3 and the Bethesda's mighty Oblivion (and a few less memorable games such as Rare's Kameo: Elements of Power and Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie.)

Microsoft certainly got the jump on Sony and Nintendo in the last round of the console race, with the PlayStation 3 and Wii releasing almost a year later.

Xbox Live boss Stephen Toulouse noted on his blog: "When the Xbox 360 was announced, I was just as surprised as anyone else. The original Xbox was only four years old and Xbox Live was just starting to hit its stride.

"Sure I had a PS2 and a Gamecube as well, but I really thought we'd put out a good gaming machine with the Xbox and was surprised we would 'kill' it so quickly in favour of a new one. But as more and more information came out about it, the more excited I got over it.

"We tend to forget that compared to what was launched with the Xbox 360, the gaming experience on other platforms was fairly primitive. Fun to be sure, but the leap to HD gaming interconnected through Live was a pretty watershed moment."

Microsoft most recently launched Kinect for Xbox 360, which it hopes will extend the life-cycle of the console for another five years or so through to 2015.

Via Stepto.com