The first Xbox arrived in 2001 to compete with the PSOne, which was on the market since 1995, and the newcomer PlayStation 2, launched in the year 2000. In addition to Sony, Microsoft was also eyeing the market conquered by Nintendo and its Gamecube .
Since its emergence, still in the age of CDs, until the powerful Series X and S, Xbox has established itself as one of the most important entertainment centers in the industry, adding to the brand successful services, such as the Xbox Game Pass, and dozens of studios .
How about going back in time and getting to know the versions, accessories and some remarkable games in Xbox history? Come on!
The Xbox story on video
Before the arrival of the first Xbox in November 2001, Microsoft already had its eyes on games publishing, including some titles for PC, such as Flight Simulator and Age of Empires.
However, the company realized that if it really wanted to be successful in this market, some upgrades would be necessary. Sony was already cultivating good popularity with the PlayStation and was already starting to work on the PS2.
With competition growing and video games becoming a real force in the market, Microsoft decided that it also wanted a piece of that pie. And so came the first Xbox, with 64 MB of RAM and 8 GB of storage.
Curiosity: the name XBox originated from DirectX Box and the device had been designed, at the beginning of its development (back in 1998), to function more or less as a PC running Windows 2000 – which could make life easier for content creators , who were already familiar with the system.
Three years later, Bill Gates himself introduced the console to the world alongside none other than actor Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock”. The first Xbox sold more than 1 million devices in the first three weeks after launch.
Many developers at the time agreed that the Xbox was more powerful than competitors GameCube and PS2, but few studios outside Microsoft have ventured to explore the real potential of the device.
In its lifetime, the first Xbox sold more than 24 million units worldwide. The result strengthened the brand, in the eyes of the consumer, and placed video games in second place in that generation, surpassing Nintendo and its GameCube (which sold 21.7 million consoles) and also Sega Dreamcast (which sold only 9.1 million) .
But Xbox sales were far behind those of the PlayStation 2, which sold more than 155 million devices and still holds the best-selling console title in history.
Microsoft’s video game suffered a lot to be favored by the Japanese market and it is estimated that it sold around half a million units there. But unlike the competition, the Xbox has become a haven for Western games, especially for the first-person shooter and action genres.
The Xbox Controller, also known at the time as “Duke”, had a very robust design and was not very comfortable to use for long hours. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for it to be replaced by a lightweight version, the “Controller S” that served as an inspiration for the following controls.
The Xbox was the first console to support a broadband Ethernet port, which paved the way for the debut (in 2002) of Xbox Live, a subscription service for accessing online games and other features. Xbox Live gained popularity with Halo 2 and peaked in that generation with about 20 million users.
Some outstanding games:
The first game in the series Halo, released in November 2001, was a big and super welcome surprise for the Xbox. The game became a hit among shooting game lovers and put the spotlight on the Microsoft console. The company had bought developer Bungie to launch this exclusive game, and the investment was worth it.
Other notable games of the first Xbox were: Fable, Forza Motorsport, Ninja Gaiden, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Burnout 3: Takedown and more.
The second generation of Microsoft consoles arrived in November 2005 with the Xbox 360, almost 1 year before the launch of competitors PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. The console came out in two models: the Xbox 360 Pro, with 20 GB of HD, and a cheaper version, the Xbox 360 Core, with only 4 GB of internal flash memory. It was possible, however, to purchase a separate HD to use on the Core model.
The design of the 360 is much smoother and the color white has been adopted as a standard for both initial models. And speaking of Xbox 360 versions, Microsoft also released other editions of its console, such as: Xbox 360 Elite (in 2007), with 120 GB of HD and in black; the Core model was replaced by Arcade. In 2010, the slimmest Xbox 360 S came with a wi-fi adapter and, finally, the Xbox 360 E, in 2013.
The evolution of the 360 control, compared to the Duke of the first Xbox, is clear and very welcome. Slightly smaller than Controller S, the button structure almost remained the same, but in the new model, the number of face buttons dropped from six to 4 – the well-known A, X, Y and B.
Two new bumpers were also added, as well as a guide button in the center – which allowed you to turn on the console faster. There were wired and wireless models of the controller, and especially the wired ones were very popular for playing on the PC because of their USB connection.
The Xbox 360 family has sold more than 86 million units worldwide and is, to date, Microsoft’s best-selling console.
In general, the developers considered it “easier” to program for the 360 than for the PS3, for example, because of the processor used by the Sony console. Consequently, multiplatform games used to run better on Xbox 360.
The Xbox 360 became a very popular console and much of its success was also due to the backward compatibility feature, which allows you to play some games from the first console. The device also supported streaming, such as Netflix, CDs and DVDs.
But since not everything is flowers, one of the big brands of Microsoft’s second generation of consoles is not at all positive. Whoever had a 360, at the time, certainly feared the infamous “3 red lights” or the “red ring of death”. In short, when three LEDs appeared in red it was a sign of overheating.
The problem, when it happened, was so severe that it ended up destroying the system of the device. Microsoft even spent billions of dollars at the time to extend the video game warranty by 3 years.
In November 2010 Kinect was released for the Xbox 360. Motion control with an integrated camera supported voice command and allowed players to use their bodies as controls for some games, which supported the feature.
Kinect sold around 8 million units in 60 days after its launch. By the end of the Xbox 360’s lifespan, Microsoft had sold more than 24 million of the first generation of its motion controller.
Some outstanding games:
Gears of War (1, 2 and 3), Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Halo 4, BioShock, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Mass Effect (1 and 2), Fable II, Forza Motorsport 4, GTA V, Oblivion, Skyrim and others.
Microsoft entered the eighth generation of consoles in November 2013 with the Xbox One – which got its name from being sold by the company as an all-in-one entertainment device. In addition to the console, the product box also featured the second generation of Kinect, now with 1080p resolution, improved tracking system and cardiac monitor.
Despite encouraging consumers to maintain and use Kinect, the company ended up offering, in June 2014, a cheaper version of Xbox One without Kinect. That way, the device could be more competitive with the PS4 and in the same starting price range of $ 400. Kinect started to be sold separately for $ 150.
With estimated sales, to date, in more than 47 million units worldwide, the Xbox One, in addition to running games, has become a multimedia electronic, being possible to watch content via CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and devices via USB, such as pendrives . In addition, the console can also capture and share gameplay.
The Xbox One controller is similar to the 360, but with some adjustments, especially in terms of ergonomics, footprint and analog. Haptic feedback has also been improved. In summary, it is a very comfortable joypad to use.
In 2015, a new version of this control was launched with a 3.5 mm jack to plug in headphones. Also this year, Xbox One started offering backwards compatibility with several 360 games, via emulation.
Much more stout and with extra customizable buttons, in October 2015, the Xbox Elite One Wireless Controller was launched – the premium version of the traditional controller.
As well as the 360, the Xbox One also gained varied models, such as:
- Xbox One S (in August 2016) which in addition to a re-design (making it a little smaller than the original), also won a drive for Blu-Ray 4K and HDR support;
- Xbox One X, in November 2017, with 6 performance teraflops. The console supports 4K and backwards compatibility. Visually, the One X is smaller than previous devices in the Xbox family and looks a lot like the One S.
In July 2020, Microsoft announced the discontinuation of Xbox One X production, in addition to the Xbox One S All-Digital (another model and a more affordable version, without a physical media player, which arrived in May 2019). The statement came months before the Xbox Series X and S releases.
Some outstanding games:
Ori and the Blind Forest, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5, Sea of Thieves, Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Battlefield 1 and others.
Xbox Series X and S
The Xbox Series X and Series S are part of the ninth generation of consoles and arrive in November 2020. Microsoft launches, at the same time, the top-of-the-line version of its device (the Series X) and a more cost-effective option (the S Series) which is 100% digital.
The first big news is the adoption of the SSD (in both versions of the console), instead of the HD, for faster loading. The devices also have Quick Resume to return to the game almost instantly, support for HDMI 2.1, frame rates up to 120 fps, DirectX Ray Tracing and VRS (variable shading rate).
In addition to the price and design, the biggest difference from the Series X to the S is the graphics power: the X has 12 teraflops and is capable of rendering games in 4K. The S has 4 teraflops and is limited to 1440p (with 4K upscaling). Another difference is in the capacity of the SSD: 1 TB for the Series X against 512 GB of the S.
The Xbox Wireless Controller becomes a little smaller on the X and S, compared to the Xbox One. Other than that, there are few visual changes: d-pad now abandons the cross shape and adopts a circular directional pad (similar to that of the Elite Controller ) and the triggers have a texture to improve the grip.
There is also the presence of a share button, in addition to the menu and capture buttons, which are in the center of the control. In the Series S version, the only change is the color, to accompany the console’s appearance. Ah, yes … Batteries … They are still needed.
Features such as backwards compatibility (for Xbox One, 360 games and the first Xbox) and Smart Delivery, which delivers the best possible version of the game, are available.
Games available at launch:
Gears 5, Gears Tactics, The Ascent, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Devil May Cry 5: Special Edition, Watch Dogs Legion, Yakuza: Like a Dragon and etc.
Let the ninth generation begin!
Well, that’s it! Did you like our Xbox timeline? And what are your expectations for the ninth generation of consoles? Tell us!