The Xbox is Microsoft’s addition to the gaming console market. The company had shown interest in this for a while, with Bill Gates being a fan and outwardly praising the PlayStation upon release. This console happens to be the first in the Xbox series of gaming consoles, and was the first console produced by an American company since the Atari Jaguar in 1996. Its main competitors were the PlayStation 2 and the Game Cube. The console boasted superior graphics to its rivals, also becoming the first console to feature built-in hard-discs. Nevertheless, the system was always inferior to the sales of the PS2, though this cannot denote the ultimate success of the console, promoting high sales and steady popularity within its lifetime.
Microsoft’s console featured an online fee-based service that allowed their players to connect with friends and download new content, which is now known as Xbox Live. This launched in 2002 and had a whopping 250,000 subscribers within two months! This grew quickly to 1 million in 2004 and exponentially to 2 million in 2005 (by the time of the Xbox 360 release).
Much of the success of the Xbox is attributed to first-person shooter games such as Halo 2 – which became the highest-grossing release in entertainment history making over $125 million on its first day alone!
The development of the console originally began as game developers started to show unwavering loyalty to Sony’s PlayStation 2 and less and less were using Windows. Xbox staff were staffed in creating a console to rival Sony’s and this was brought to them through the Direx-Box (then shortened to Xbox).
The Xbox was initially announced at the Game Developers Conference in 2000. Due to this, Sega started to show interest in partnering with Microsoft and had talks with Bill Gates himself with incorporating Dreamcast compatibility. However, this fell through. Amusingly, the Xbox was announced to the public by Bill Gates joined with the Rock (wrestling star) in 2001!
Initially, the Xbox was met in Japan with immense popularity to the point where Microsoft delayed European release to work on this. Despite this delay, the European market performed better than the Japanese for the console.
In 2002, an advertisement for the console ran in the UK and was banned after causing uproar for the ‘offensive’ nature. This advert presented a woman giving birth to a baby who flew out of the hospital window, only to age rapidly whilst flying then crash-landing into his own grave! With the saying ‘Life is short. Play more’ shown on screen afterwards.
The console was then discontinued as late as 2005, this was due to the release of the Xbox 360.
Xbox seemed to be the first console to steal 3rd party developers from the PlayStation brand, and was incredibly popular amongst other companies – at one point even joining forces exclusively with Sega. Through sharing popularity amongst third party developers with PlayStation, the console was the first to have synchronised releases with the PS2. Some popular and critically acclaimed releases of the console include titles such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, as well as the Halo series.
The Xbox sold 1.53 million units just three months after launch, which presents higher figures than the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U and Game Cube. Despite the delayed release, the console has shown to sell better in the North American and European markets rather than the Japanese. However, the sales had always been considerably behind the PS2.
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Did you enjoy this post? Why not read our blog published on this console’s 15th anniversary!