The original Xbox launched in New Zealand 15 years ago today; on October 3, 2002.

It was already available in many other markets including Australia, where it launched on March 14, 2002.

The delay benefitted New Zealand in one way: slow sales had seen the Xbox's price slashed overseas. So, while it debuted in Australia for AU$640 and then fell to AU$399, it was sold here for NZ$499 from the outset.

About 80 games were available at launch, including exclusives Halo, Project Gotham Racing, Dead or Alive 3, Jet Set Radio Future, and Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding.

By the end of 2002, about 150 games were available for Xbox, and they generally sold for between NZ$80 and NZ$130.

There were also a slew of accessories available, including AV Advance Packs (NZ$50), memory cards (NZ$80), RFU adapters (NZ$40), and link cables (NZ$40).

Microsoft allegedly spent more than US$1.2 billion marketing the Xbox, and the New Zealand launch cost more than a million dollars.

Some of that cash went to Kiwi bands Rhombus and Blindspott, who played at the launch party. There was also an Xbox trailer that toured the country, allowing the public to get hands-on with the console's insanely huge controllers.

Then-managing director of Sony Computer Entertainment NZ Steve Dykes said his company was unfazed by Xbox, as PlayStation 2 held a 95 per cent market share.

"It's healthy competition... good luck to them," he said. "We've seen plenty of other competitors come and go."

New Zealand Xbox marketing manager Wilf Robinson responded, "We have very well-established competition and we are the new kid on the block. We're aware it's a very difficult market but Sony haven't been tested before. They haven't had any real competition."

By mid-January of 2003, about 20,000 Xbox consoles had been sold in New Zealand.

Microsoft's online gaming service and digital storefront Xbox Live launched in North America in November of 2002, but wasn't available in New Zealand for another year (December 4, 2003).

To get online, you needed an Xbox Live Starter Kit (NZ$220) and a fair bit of patience.