"I Recommend Xbox" Light-up Promo Pendant

Page contents last updated on May 3, 2024

Microsoft Xbox
Promotional Swag

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Here are the links to places I've found which mention the existence of this seemingly rare item:

This round, cheaply-made plastic pendant adorning the Xbox logo appears to have been a giveaway and/or was worn by distributors during the launch of the original Xbox in 2001. It takes two AAA batteries, which are used to power LEDs that light up the logo and text in this repeating sequence: The "X" logo, the "XBOX" text, then the "I RECOMMEND" text. There is a faintly-audible whine that you can hear when the LEDs are active. The whine descends in pitch as the LEDs go through the cycle. There is an ON/OFF switch that toggles the lights.

The pendant has a pin on its backside, and the ends of the two strings can be connected to form a necklace.

I've recently purchased this neat little oddity from a local collector (recent as of writing, on 4/22/2024). He claimed that he had obtained it after participating in an Xbox launch party in 2001. There was an employee wearing it, and he simply asked if he could have it. Amazingly, the employee gave it to him.

His story about it being a promotional item from a launch party aligns with the trace amount of vague information I can find about it online. A page on the Xbox fandom wiki claims that it's a Gamestop promotional item from 2001, which seems likely.

The most common sources of information on the trinket's existence that I can find is from eBay listings. I take most of these with a grain of salt, as it's possible that the sellers are making up information in order to increase the chance of it selling.

The item description on a listing posted by usmale77 on eBay reads, "Xbox promotional pendants for the 2001 Xbox release. I removed the original batteries long ago to prevent any damage to the unit. They are new old stock still in the plastic. The lights flash in a 1-2-3 motion repeatedly until the unit is switched off." Pictured in the post is a large tote filled with the pendants in plastic baggies with an instruction sheet within.

I've also sent a message to usmale77 on April 23, 2024, asking if he knew where the pendants originated from. He replied, "As I understand, these were made in China in 1999 and released in 2000 When Xbox came out in 2001 these were promotional pendants. About 16 years ago, I found a box of these at a nonprofit thrift store. I don’t think you will find many of these floating around. I’ve seen a used one here and there on eBay, but I may have the last big lot of them. These being as rare as they are, I feel like I am giving them away. I have kept a few back from myself, but I have also considered upping the price." Usmale77 also clarified that by rare he meant rare to find in the packaging.

An eBay listing from Modern Supply and Surplus claimed that it's an E3 promo item. I doubt that it was exclusively for that event, if at all. However, I don't think it's out of the question that they were given out at E3. These pendants were probably mass produced very cheaply in decent quantities as giveaways to retailers or anyone else willing to promote the launch of the Xbox.

The description in a sold listing posted by Heartland Hussy claims that they were worn by distributors, saying, "THIS IS THE ORIGINAL XBOX 2001 PROMO BUTTON / BADGE WORN BY DISTRIBUTORS TO PROMOTE THE "NEW" XBOX!" This aligns with the collector's claim of receiving it from an employee. Heartland Hussy's listing also contains a video of the pendant in action, high pitched sounds and all.


I haven't been able to find a teardown of these things anywhere online, so I figured I'd tear it down myself and share my findings here.

Click on images to view them enlarged in a new tab.
1a.) Removing the only screw to inspect the battery compartment.
1b.) Corrosion isn't bad, thank god. No secret screws either.
1c.) These were inside when I first opened it. I'm unsure if these are the original batteries that came with it. Hopefully not.
2a.) I carefully released the clips holding this ring bezel in place.
2b.) There are 4 clips identical to the clip above power switch on all sides of the pendant which hold the ring bezel.
3a.) The innards were revealed after I carefully pried the lower half of the pendant off with a thin yet durable plastic pry tool while gently pulling on the lower half.
3b.) A closer look at the inside.
3c.) I would love to flip over this board and see what's on the other side, but it's held in by some stamped plastic. I'm not willing to risk damaging the pendant or PCB in order to find out what's on the other side.
4.) The pendant, new in the packaging.
5.) The instructions are on a sticker which is attached to the plastic baggie.

As I mentioned earlier, this thing is a cheap as hell. I constantly felt like I was going to break it while I was taking it apart. The pendant is held together entirely by plastic clips, excluding the screw for the battery cover. I was reasonably cautious while screwing the battery cover down, as the soft plastic threads could be easily drilled out if I screwed it in too hard.

Update 5/3/2024:

I've uploaded the images on this page to the internet archive, so that it may also be preserved there (I didn't find anything about it on there either). I have also purchased one of the new-old-stock pendants from usmale77, and added the instructions and packaging to this page.