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Xbox history: From new kid on the block to household name

Microsoft's Xbox consoles have been a fixture in the gaming industry for two decades now, spanning four console contemporaries and establishing Microsoft as a major player in the segment alongside Sony and Nintendo.

Microsoft is still a relative stranger to the console space compared to its adversaries, but the Xbox consoles bring along their exhibition share of innovation to the industry and become another cash cow for the Redmond giant. So with that in brain, we meditated now's a good a period as any to look at the history of Xbox.

Microsoft Xbox: X marks the starting spot

Original Xbox

Credit: Hadlee Simons/ Android Authority

The first Xbox launched back in November 2001, and in many ways established the template that most subsequent consoles would use. For starters, it was the first console with an integrated broadband modem.

Now, internet abilities weren't new at the time, as consoles like the Sega Dreamcast offered 56 K modem support. But this was the first time it was integrated into the console( also offering more than just dial-up ), and Microsoft would go on to launch its influential Xbox Live subscription service for online playing in 2002. Fast-forward to 2021 and all three console makers offer paid services for online play.

The 8GB hard drive was another major addition at the time, which implied Xbox owneds could store their play saves, patches, music, and more on the machine. This was in stark contrast to its competitives at the time, which offered memory posters as paid addeds for tournament saves.

More Xbox coverage: Xbox Game Pass versus Game Pass Ultimate -- Which is right for you ?

The first console in Xbox history was a powerhouse too, peculiarity what was essentially a Pentium III processor, 64 MB of RAM, and a GPU based on the Nvidia Geforce 3. This hardware combo resulted in multi-platform designations that are frequently seemed best on Microsoft's console, as well as original names and PC ports that looked the business too.

Perhaps the sole downside to the original console's hardware was the controller that initially carried with it in The americas and Europe. Informally dubbed "The Duke," this controller was considered oversized for numerous shoppers. Microsoft later made the decision to swap out "The Duke" for the smaller Controller S that was became for Japan.

The original Xbox didn't have the greatest library of its contemporary, but it did discover console-exclusive entitles like the Halo series, Jade Empire, Forza Motorsport, Ninja Gaiden, Steel Battalion, and the Project Gotham Racing series. It also envisioned PC ports like Gallants of the Old Republic, Doom 3, Half Life 2, and The Elder Scrolls III Morrowind, as well as major subscribe from Sega with sports like Jet Set Radio Future and Shenmue 2. Microsoft too dipped its toes into the digital game download space with the Xbox Live Arcade service in 2004, present a variety of bite-sized recreations to purchase or try out.

Microsoft's OG Xbox was never a financial success for the company, as it lost plenty of cash on each console sold. This isn't an uncommon practice in service industries at open, as creators are able to introduce poses down the line that are cheaper to produce as constituents grow( in addition to other revenue streams such as supplements ). Unfortunately for Microsoft, its use of essentially off-the-shelf PC sides limited the company in what it could do to cut costs.

Microsoft Xbox fast points

The "X" in "Xbox" is derived from Microsoft's DirectX APIs for Windows, which managed things like multimedia, peripherals, and( of course) graphics. Microsoft initially presented off a console that was literally in the shape of an X. Prior to launching the Xbox, Microsoft was in talks with Nintendo about acquiring the Kyoto gaming giant. Harmonizing to a book by veteran journalist Dean Takahashi, a digit of $25 billion was mooted and Microsoft craved Nintendo to drop its upcoming GameCube and get behind the Xbox. The two parties apparently became their separate directions by January 2000. There was a great move from some within Microsoft to launch the OG Xbox without a hard drive, according to an interview with onetime Xbox exec Ed Fries( hop-skip to the eight-minute score ). The two cliques reportedly are consistent with Bill Gates to settle the polemic back in 1999. Of direction, the console eventually launched with the hard drive. The console still carried with wired controllers, but Microsoft added so-called " breakaway" cables as a solution to beings potentially tripping over the cable. As the epithet shows, the controller cable had a mechanism to easily disconnect itself instead of casting either the gamepad or console flying. The OG Xbox shipped with a DVD drive and used DVDs for competition storage much like the PS2. Unlike the PS2 however, it couldn't play DVDs out of the box. You had to buy a" DVD Playback Kit" to enable playback, shall be composed of a dongle and DVD remote. An easter egg for the original Xbox was revealed in 2021, 20 times after the console's release. The easter egg shows a list of employees who worked on the Dashboard interface.

Xbox 360: Turn 360 positions and walking to greatness

Xbox 360 Evan Amos Wikipedia 1

Credit: Evan Amos/ Wikipedia

The second Xbox console was unarguably the most important console in Xbox history, as it needed to show Microsoft was here to stay and that the original console was no fluke. The Xbox 360 launched in November 2005, causing it a year's head-start over Sony's eagerly predicted PlayStation 3.

Microsoft's sophomore console can be found in two configurations at launching, namely a $299 "Core" example without a hard drive and a $399 Pro/ Premium copy with a 20 GB detachable hard drive. This was a far more attractive price-point for either form compared to the PS3' s $499 and $599 for the 20 GB and 60 GB prototypes respectively. Then again, both Xbox 360 variants shortfall HDMI and Wi-Fi at opening, with these features only coming last-minute down the line.

The Xbox 360 delivered a triple-core six-thread 3.2 GHz PowerPC CPU( dubbed Xenon ), reaching it a major rush forward in comparison with the original Xbox. Other illustrious core specs include a potent ATI Xenos GPU and 512 MB of unified Ram. These specs and familiar tools impelled for a console that was significantly easier to planned for compared to the more tropical PS3, arising in numerous recreations racing more smoothly on the Xbox 360 in the early going.

The console propelled with a wireless controller( although cabled forms were available too) and this gamepad made slew of positive reviews. Connoisseurs praised pieces like the navigate/ residence button( now a standard fixture on console gamepads) and analog shoulder triggers.

Microsoft's second console too stepped up in the online space, expanding on its Xbox Live Arcade claims while also offering full sport downloads, movie/ Tv support rentals, streaming apps, and more. Otherwise, useds still required a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online.

The Xbox 360 was a great business success, but a equipment shortcoming killed millions of consoles.

The Xbox 360 played host to a variety of exclusive entitlements, including the Halo franchise, Gears of War series, Forza Motorsport activities, Viva Pinata names, and Fable 2 and 3. We likewise met strong third-party support from the get-go, with a few third-party games even missing the PS3 due to its last-minute opening. You didn't have to give up all your original Xbox tournaments either, as exactly under half the original machine's library be reconciled with the 360.

The company too liberated the Kinect motion camera in 2010, allowing you to use your entire figure for competitions. That necessitate you were able to physically jump in the real world and have your avatar jump in a stage play, or dance in the real world to have your avatar dance in a entitle like Dance Central. It likewise offered a microphone for enunciate bids and allowed you to conduct gestures for many console roles. Kinect was commercially successful, but it didn't see much in accordance with the rules of killer apps.

Unfortunately for Microsoft and Xbox 360 owners alike, the console was plagued with so-called Red Ring of Death( RROD) hardware outages for the first couple of years on the market. It's believed that the issue was related to a type of solder that becomes fragile at higher temperatures or a chip scheme breach. Nevertheless, a 2009 Square Trade survey found that the Xbox 360 los pace stood at roughly 24%, comparison with 10% for the PS3 and 2.7% for the Wii.

Microsoft would end up setting aside only over$ 1 billion for amends and other accompanied overheads. It also offered a three-year diversified warranty to cover RROD defaults, which signified I wasn't too bummed about going through two defective consoles before the third largest one manipulated penalty. Subsequent console revisions would solve the issue though.

Speaking of console revises, Microsoft released a few cases tweaked SKUs throughout the 360' s lifetime. We got the premium Xbox 360 Elite( featuring a 120 GB hard drive and HDMI ), the Xbox 360 Arcade to supplant the original entry-level model( boasting a 256 MB memory card and HDMI ), the Xbox 360 Slim( tout a slimmer designing, 250 GB hard drive, and Wi-Fi ), and the Xbox 360 E( bringing an Xbox One-style design ).

The Xbox 360 may have enjoyed first-mover advantage then, but PS3 price slice combined with better( and more) exclusive entitlements down the line signified Sony's console simply hummed out Microsoft's machine at the end of the generation. Nevertheless, the Xbox 360 is still the most popular console in Xbox history.

Xbox 360 fast knowledge

The early Xbox 360 development kit was literally simply an Apple Mac G5 with an ATI graphics card, owing to the analogous PowerPC CPU architecture. Microsoft too allowed you to swap out the Xbox 360' s face plates with one of your own choosing. The towel trick was one of the most popular home remedies for the RROD issue. Some buyers affirm that wrapping a defective console in a towel and leaving the console on for 10 to 15 times would resurrect the machine. Microsoft likewise released an HD DVD drive add-on for the Xbox 360, serving as a participating format to Blu Ray discs for video material. In case you're wondering, Blu Ray won that engagement. The Xbox 360 also debuted the attainment system, granting gamers to accrue phases for in-game accomplishments( 1,000 pitches in each retail sport ). This would then be reflected in a player's gamer score. It would also result in a community of gamers sharing text of names with the easiest achievements( hi, Avatar: The Last Airbender ). Sony would later update the PS3 to offer its own achievements organisation, allowing you to earn virtual mementoes instead of "achievements." We shielded it in our PlayStation history article, but a major IBM engineer admitted that the Xbox 360' s Xenon CPU was actually a slightly modified version of the PS3' s Cell CPU. IBM, Toshiba, and Sony invested $400 million on the Cell project, so Sony in a way partially funded a competitor's processor.

Xbox One: No , not the first Xbox

Xbox One

Credit: Hadlee Simons/ Android Authority

The Xbox 360 lost momentum to the PS3 in the second half of the generation, causing Sony's console to eventually win that round of the console combat( well, technically, the Wii triumphed ). Sony and its partner studios delivered slew of exclusive designations while Microsoft and its affiliated studios sputtered. So surely Microsoft would learn from its mistakes and come out swinging with its next console?

Microsoft discovered the Xbox One in 2013, and the company's strategy for the new gaming console was to neglect the gaming point in favor of pushing the machine for live TV, video streaming, and more. To this end, the console sent with an HDMI-in, allowing users to plug their cable containers, contender consoles, and more via the Xbox One.

The Redmond company too law controversy over its initial plans for online connectivity and physical plays. More exclusively, the company observed before opening that the Xbox One would require an online check-in every 24 hours( even if you wanted to play offline sports) and it would also introduce regulations on the sharing and resale of physical forgeries. Microsoft would make a U-turn on both policies following a big disapproval from buyers, but not before Sony announced an offbeat video showing how PS4 game sharing would work.

Adding salt to the wound was Xbox bigwig Don Mattrick infamously stating that people who wanted to play their older games on Xbox One should just buy an Xbox 360 instead. It was the kind of arrogance that defined Sony during the early days of the PS3.

All of this brought together to constitute the Xbox One a less alluring proposition for some gamers, with Microsoft touting 10 million forces shipped a year after its handout. Meanwhile, Sony had reported 10 million units sold nine months after its liberate. And the crack would only widen in the months and following year, to the point that Microsoft stopped release shipment/ auctions illustrations in 2015.

In any event, the Xbox One delivered a jolly reputable machine on paper, featuring the same octa-core AMD Jaguar CPU as the PS4, 8GB of RAM, a 500 GB hard drive, AMD GCN graphics with 12 calculate components, and a Blu Ray drive. Microsoft's console did boast slightly higher CPU clock accelerations, but the PS4 delivered 8GB of fast GDDR5 RAM and 18 compute forces for the GCN GPU. This gap meant that we often verified multi-platform claims run at 1080 p on the PS4 but at 900 p on the Xbox One. It didn't help that Microsoft initially dedicated~ 10% of the GPU power to Kinect regardless of whether you were apply the peripheral. Thankfully, the company made a U-turn on this decision less than a year later.

Related: The best Xbox One competitions you can buy right now

Microsoft managed to earn plenty of goodwill following this disturbed launching, as the company announced downward conformity with some Xbox 360 plays in 2015. This was no mean feat given the completely different architecture being used by the Xbox 360 compared to the Xbox One. We'd eventually consider hundreds of downwards compatible Xbox 360 sports on Xbox One, but there are still a variety of tournaments that aren't backwards compatible( e.g. Dirt, Max Payne 3, and the Project Gotham Racing games ).

The company would go one better in 2017 by announcing that all original Xbox tournaments that can support the Xbox 360 would be consistent with the Xbox One. In other names, you could play all three generations of Xbox on one console. Even the PS4 didn' t offer backward compatibility with either the PS3 or PS2.

Microsoft would follow up the Xbox One with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Xbox One S essentially replaced the standard Xbox One, bringing a slightly higher GPU clock hasten, HDR, and 4K video subsistence( via streaming apps or 4K Blu Ray disc ). Meanwhile, the Xbox One X seat above the Xbox One and Xbox One S in terms of power, delivering 12 GB of RAM, a 2.3 GHz octa-core Jaguar CPU, and a massively refurbished GPU( boasting 40 compute parts) for true-life 4K gaming. Sony likewise secreted the hulking PS4 Pro at around this time, but Microsoft's console had the performance edge, often reaching native 4K in multi-platform claims comparison with " checkerboarded"( upscaled) 4K on the Pro.

The Redmond company would even use the Xbox One X's influence to reach some older backwards compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games gape and guided better. For precedent, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Ninja Gaiden Black gained 4K support.

What if you don't want to play old-fashioned games though? The Xbox One library sallowed in comparison to the PS4' s portfolio, but you got tournaments like Forza Motorsport 5, 6 and 7, the Forza Horizon series, Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, and Sea of Thieves.

We also assured the Xbox Game Pass service introduction in this generation, giving you a selection of games to play on your console or PC for a monthly subscription fee. And it's since rise from backbone to persuasivenes to become one of the very best considers in gaming.

The Xbox One controller wasn't all that different from the Xbox 360 at propel, save for ergonomic changes and the introduction of impulse triggers. The latter specified pulse in the prompts, such as when you drive over a rumble piece in a race play. The gamepad would have a couple of changes over duration, such as a 2015 simulate that introduced a 3.5 mm port, and the Xbox One S controller that switched to Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. The house would also release an Elite controller in 2015, with the much higher price tag getting you interchangeable rear paddle buttons as well as interchangeable analog stick tops and D-pads.

Xbox One fast points

The Xbox One primarily shipped with a new generation Kinect camera for gesture and singer verifies, but Microsoft would eventually release a console without the peripheral. The company would ditch Kinect on the Xbox One wholly in 2017. Microsoft first discovered the console would have a CPU clocked at 1.6 GHz and a GPU clocked at 800 MHz. But the company increased the clock hurries to 1.75 GHz and 853 MHz respectively during mass production. Microsoft predicted that makes could mobilize the ability of its Azure cloud data centers to improve processing power of Xbox One competitions. This was demonstrated with superb eradication in Crackdown 3, but the final activity didn't have this level of devastation. In fact, I don't think a single play harnessed the cloud in a comparable direction. Rumor of an Xbox set-top box surfaced a year prior to the Xbox One's propel. The set-top box would've apparently patronage "casual" tournaments rather than Xbox entitlements, as well as entertainment and streaming apps. An Xbox streaming stick code-named Hobart was rumored back in 2016, said to be capable of streaming sports over your residence network. This was apparently canceled shortly before mass production. It's unclear if this streaming put was related to the aforementioned set-top box activity. Early devkits became up for auctioneer on eBay in 2012, before Microsoft even affirmed the Xbox One's existence.

Xbox Series S and Series X

xbox series x vs series s front with controller 3

Credit: Oliver Cragg/ Android Authority

If the Xbox One labelled a low-pitched part for Microsoft, then the Xbox Series consoles are shaping up to be an intriguing return to form. The Redmond company came out fluctuate with two consoles in November 2020. This in itself isn't extraordinary, as Sony did the same with the PS5, but what is unusual is the performance gap between the two consoles.

The Xbox Series X is undoubtedly the more fee provide, featuring an octa-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.8 GHz, RDNA 2 graphics with 52 estimate measurements( uttering 12 teraflops of dominance ), 16 GB of fast GDDR6 RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Blu Ray drive. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series S pieces the same Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.6 GHz, an RDNA 2 GPU with 20 estimate contingents( dishing up four teraflops of power ), 10 GB of GDDR6 RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and no Blu Ray drive.

This disparity cooks down to the Xbox Series X targeting 4K/ 60 fps gameplay( all the way up to 120 Hz support or 8K) while the Xbox Series S aims to achieve 1440 p solutions at 60 fps( with 120 fps support too ). Will this action gap to be translated into the Xbox Series S bracing the Series X back a few years down the line? Only time will tell, but both consoles addressed a key weakness in the previous generation( CPU strength) by providing some strong AMD Zen 2 hardware.

Nevertheless, the decision to target two starkly different carry-on points means that Microsoft is able to offer a competitive locate cost. The Xbox Series S beginning at only $299, while the Series X is available for $499. That means you can get a next-generation( well, current generation now) Xbox for $100 cheaper than the cheapest PS5.

The cheapest Xbox Series console is much cheaper than the cheapest PS5. Toss in Game Pass and you've got plenty of value for money.

Microsoft's brand-new machines also stand out by having the most comprehensive backward compatibility policy of the big three console makes and in Xbox history. All Xbox One sports keep going the Series S and X, but all Xbox 360 and OG Xbox games that rolled on the Xbox One run on the new consoles as well. So that's a huge feather in the Redmond company's cap. In fact, both the Xbox Series S and Series X furnish resolve and frame-rate enhancements for some older claims, with the Series X savour the most dramatic improvements.

It's still early days for these systems, so exclusive designations are in short supply. But standout activities at this stage include Grounded, Forza Horizon 4, and Gears 5( which are all playable on Xbox One regardles ). Upcoming big-name plays include Halo Infinite, Fable, and Flight Simulator.

Another big advantage for Microsoft is the Game Pass due assistance, which can be consulted on these new consoles as well. And between day-one releases of first-party games and Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda( subsequently computing the publisher's sports to the service ), you're getting a ton of bang for your buck.

The Xbox Series S/ X controller is an progression over the last-generation controller, but does verify the addition of a share button for instantly sharing screenshots and videos. We likewise get Bluetooth Low Energy support and USB-C connectivity. It's also worth noting that the new controller still relies on AA batteries rather than having an integrated lithium-ion battery like contenders. But as was the case in previous generations, you can buy an official rechargeable battery pack.

Xbox Series S/ X fast facts

The Xbox Series X tolerate the code-name Anaconda prior to its unveiling, while the Series S console was announced Lockhart. Microsoft's brand-new consoles follow the Xbox One by offering a developer state as well for $20. But the additional horsepower necessitates it's possible to play boosted emulators( e.g. PSP, PS2, GameCube) via this procedure. One rumor prior to the brand-new Xbox reveal suggested that Microsoft was working on a inexpensive machine for gloom streaming merely.

That's it for a look at the history of Xbox consoles. How numerous Xbox machines did you own? Let us know in the comments. Which one was your favorite though? Vote in our referendum below.

Read more: androidauthority.com

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