Xbox Xbox360

Xbox Xbox360

What is Xbox?-----a sixth-generation video game console

The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe and is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market, and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast, and Nintendo's GameCube. The integrated Xbox Live service allowed players to compete online.

The Xbox was discontinued in late 2006.

The console was Microsoft's first product that ventured into the video game console market, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Dreamcast console. The Xbox first edition was initially developed by a small Microsoft team that included game developer Seamus Blackley. Microsoft repeatedly delayed the console, which was first mentioned in late 1999 during interviews with then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Gates stated that a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times, confirmed by Microsoft with a press release. When Bill Gates unveiled the Xbox at the Game Developers Conference in 2000, audiences were impressed by the console's technology. At the time of Gates' announcement, Sega's Dreamcast was diminishing and Sony's PlayStation 2 was just hitting the streets in Japan.

Concentrating on making a big splash in Japan, Microsoft delayed its European launch, though Europe later proved to be the more receptive market. Two of the original members of the Xbox team, Seamus Blackley and Kevin Bachus, left the company early on. The other founding members, Otto Berkes and Ted Hase, are still with Microsoft, but by 2004 were no longer working on the Xbox project.

Some of Microsoft's plans proved effective. In preparation for its launch, Microsoft acquired Bungie and used Halo: Combat Evolved as its launch title. At the time, Goldeneye 007 for Nintendo 64 had been one of the few hit FPS games to appear on a console, some of other ones being Perfect Dark and Medal of Honor. Halo: Combat Evolved proved a good application to drive the Xbox's sales. In 2002, Microsoft overtook Nintendo to capture the second place slot in consoles sold in North America.

Popular launch games for the console included Dead or Alive 3, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fuzion Frenzy and Project Gotham Racing.

The name for the Xbox was originally the DirectX box as it came from a group of Microsoft DirectX developers, but later changed to Xbox after focus testing. The marketing team apparently "created this whole, long list of better names for the machine", former Microsoft VP of game publishing Ed Fries said in a interview with Gamasutra.

The Xbox was the first video game console to feature a built-in hard disk drive, used primarily for storing game saves and content downloaded from Xbox Live. This eliminated the need for separate memory cards (although some older consoles, such as the TurboGrafx-CD, Sega CD and Sega Saturn had featured built-in battery backup memory prior to 2001). An Xbox user could rip music from standard audio CDs to the hard drive, and these songs were used for the custom soundtracks in some games.

The Xbox was the first gaming product to feature Dolby Interactive Content-Encoding Technology, which allows real-time Dolby Digital encoding in game consoles. Previous game consoles could only use Dolby Digital 5.1 during non-interactive "cut scene" playback.

The Xbox is based on commodity PC hardware and is much larger and heavier than its contemporaries. This is largely due to a bulky tray-loading DVD-ROM drive and the standard-size 3.5 inch hard drive. The Xbox has also pioneered safety features, such as breakaway cables for the controllers to prevent the console from being pulled from the surface it rests on.

Several internal hardware revisions have been made in an ongoing battle to discourage modding (hackers continually updated modchip designs in an attempt to defeat them), to cut manufacturing costs, and to make the DVD-ROM drive more reliable (some of the early units' drives gave Disc Reading Errors due to the unreliable Thomson DVD-ROM drives used). Later generation units that used the Thomson TGM-600 DVD-ROM drives and the Philips VAD6011 DVD-ROM drives were still vulnerable to failure that rendered the consoles either unable to read newer discs or caused them to halt the console with an error code usually indicating a PIO/DMA identification failure, respectively. These units were not covered under the extended warranty.

In 2002 Microsoft and Nvidia entered arbitration over a dispute on the pricing of Nvidia's chips for the Xbox. Nvidia's filing with the SEC indicated that Microsoft was seeking a US$13 million discount on shipments for NVIDIA's fiscal year 2002. Microsoft alleged violations of the agreement the two companies entered, sought reduced chipset pricing, and sought to ensure that Nvidia fulfill Microsoft's chipset orders without limits on quantity. The matter was privately settled on February 6, 2003.

Launch-era Xbox gaming units were made in Hungary and the controllers made mostly in Indonesia.

The Xbox runs a custom operating system which was once believed to be a modified version of the Windows 2000 kernel. It exposes APIs similar to APIs found in Microsoft Windows, such as DirectX 8.1.

Sandy Duncan, former VP of Xbox in Europe, however states that "the [Xbox] Kernel was based on Windows NT...but that was about 150K of code..." The system software may have been based on the Windows NT architecture that powered Windows 2000; it is not a modified version of either.

The user interface for the Xbox is called the Xbox Dashboard. It features a media player that can be used to play music CDs, rip CDs to the Xbox's built-in hard drive and play music that has been ripped to the hard drive; let users manage game saves, music and downloaded content from Xbox LIVE; and lets Xbox LIVE users sign in and manage their account. the dashboard is only available when the user is not watching a movie or playing a game. It uses many shades of green and black for the user interface, to be consistent with the physical Xbox color scheme. When the Xbox was released in 2001 the LIVE service was not online yet, so the dashboard's LIVE feature was unusable.

Xbox LIVE was released in 2002, but in order to access it users had to buy the Xbox LIVE starter kit containing a headset, a subscription, and supplemental. While the Xbox was still being supported by Microsoft, the Xbox Dashboard was updated via Xbox LIVE several times to reduce cheating and add features. On November 15, 2002, Microsoft launched its Xbox Live online gaming service, allowing subscribers to play online Xbox games with other subscribers around the world and download new content directly to the system's hard drive. The online service works only with a broadband Internet connection. Approximately 250,000 subscribers signed up within two months of Xbox Live's launch. In July 2004, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live had reached one million subscribers; in July 2005, membership reached two million, and by July 2007 there were more than 3 million subscribers. By May 2009, the number had ballooned to 20 million current subscribers. On February 5, 2010, Marc Whitten posted on gamerscoreblog that Xbox Live support for the original Xbox games would be discontinued as of April 15, 2010. Services were discontinued on schedule, but a group of 20 gamers continued to play for almost a month afterwards by simply leaving their consoles on connected to Halo 2. APACHE N4SIR was the final user to play on the original Xbox's Live Service and was finally disconnected on May 11, 2010 at 01:58 EDT (UTC-4).

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