Xbox is a video game brand created by the American software company Microsoft. This gaming brand consists of three main consoles, namely, Xbox (2001), Xbox 360 (2005), and the latest Xbox One (2013). Subsequently, Xbox released the fourth line of Xbox consoles, the Xbox Series X/S, in November 2020.
In addition to gaming consoles, Xbox has also developed games through their development division, Xbox Gaming Studios. Popular games such as Halo, Age of Empires, The Elder Scrolls, and other big gaming franchises were developed and released on behalf of this studio.
Xbox also had its online gaming service called Xbox Network, otherwise known as Xbox Live. It was a built-in feature on most Xbox gaming consoles to let its users have exclusive access to certain games and also stay connected to other Xbox Network members worldwide.
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History of Xbox Gaming Consoles
Early Beginnings: Xbox (2001)
While the original Xbox console was released in November of 2001, it was viewed to rival the up-and-coming PlayStation 2, which was created by another software company giant, Sony Computer Entertainment. The first Xbox was developed by four engineers of the Microsoft DirectX team, headed by team leader Otto Berkes, head creator and designer Seamus Blackley, Kevin Bachus, and Ted Hase.
Captivating games such as the Halo franchise, and an integrated online service then called Xbox Live, was what put the Xbox brand as one of the legitimate gaming consoles in North America. Besides Sony’s PlayStation 2, it also competed against the likes of Dreamcast (Sega) and GameCube (Nintendo).
Second Generation: Xbox 360 (2005)
Four years after the release of the Xbox, Microsoft launched its second-generation gaming console, the Xbox 360. It featured larger internal storage and RAM to help accommodate more games and media. The Xbox 360 quickly gained popularity since its announcement on MTV and Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005.
It also featured an expansive Xbox Live feature that enabled users to stream various multimedia content, such as music, movie series, films, and TV programs through Xbox Music and Xbox Video. Along with this, Microsoft also released its first motion control system called Kinect.
Third Generation: Xbox One (2013)
The Xbox One gaming console was a part of the eighth-generation of video game consoles and competed against the likes of PlayStation 4 (Sony), Wii U, and Switch (Nintendo). It featured improvements in its user interface, ability to stream and record gameplay, and Kinect-based voice control.
However, Xbox One’s integration of the digital rights management (DRM) on its gaming library was considered controversial and unfair; while Microsoft allowed access to various games on any Xbox One console even without the game’s discs, users had to keep their libraries synced on their Xbox live account, or else the console cannot play any of its games.
Nonetheless, these restrictions were shortly discontinued after an outrage by most of its gaming community. In addition, the succeeding Xbox One editions, Xbox One S (2016) and Xbox One X (2017), featured extensive support for 4K and HDR displays. The Xbox One was soon succeeded by the Xbox Series X/S (2020), which featured even more powerful hardware and can support up to an 8K display resolution.