Microsoft has come a long way with the Xbox Series X which is marketed as the most powerful gaming console on the market right now. The Game Pass is also a service loved by gamers all over the world and is often regarded as the Netflix of gaming. But things were not always this great for the company. Microsoft has had its fair share of failures and competition in the gaming space. in this article, I am going to go over the history of Xbox consoles in the order in of their release.
Release Date: November 2001
The first Xbox was released in 2001 to take on gaming industry leaders PlayStation and Nintendo. Before this Microsoft had success publishing games on PC. Age of Empires and Flight Simulator were two of the company’s most successful games. The Xbox was the first gaming console that Microsoft made in an attempt to capture a piece of the console gaming market.
The console could run games at HD resolution and enabled online play but people were skeptical about it and thought of it as a PC in a console form-factor. Microsoft was able to sell a million units of the console during the first 3 weeks of release. At the time, the console had to compete against the PS2, Nintendo GameCube, and Sega Dreamcast.
The original Xbox was able to beat the Dreamcast and GameCube in sales numbers but was defeated by the PS2, which sold 155 million units. Soon after, Microsoft acquired game developer Bungie that made Halo exclusively for the Xbox console. Halo and later on Halo 2 were very popular and sold millions of copies around the world. Other popular games include Forza Motorsport, Fable, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
Original Xbox Specifications
|Custom 733 MHz Intel Pentium III “Coppermine-based” processor
|233 MHz Nvidia NV2A
|8 or 10 GB internal Hard Drive formatted to 8 GB
|DVD, Compact Disc, Download
|100 Mbit Ethernet
Release Date: 2005
The Xbox 360 came out in 2005, a year before Sony released the PS3. This console had plenty of different versions. The more expensive Xbox 360 Pro featured 20GB of memory, while the $300 Core version shipped with 4GB of memory. Later on, an Elite version was released that featured a 120GB hard drive and a Black finish.
In 2010 a slimmer version of the Xbox 360 was released, called the Xbox 360S. This version came with a Wi-Fi adapter. Lastly, an E variant was released which looked similar to the Xbox One.
Getting a head-start on the competition did prove to be worth it as the Xbox 360 sold more than 86 million units. Microsoft worked closely with developers to make games that were exclusive to Xbox. The console was a great entertainment system as well, as it could play CDs and DVDs and supported services such as YouTube and Netflix.
The Xbox 360 suffered from the “Red Ring Of Dead” which resulted in a red ring showing up at the front of the console and would make the console unusable. This was due to the console overheating. Units affected by this issue had to be recalled and this cost Microsoft millions of dollars. In 2010, the Kinect Sensor was released for the Xbox 360 which allowed gamers to play games using their bodies and voices rather than a controller. The Kinect sold more than 24 million units.
Xbox 360 Specifications
|3.2 Ghz IBM PowerPC tri-core
|500 Mhz ATI/AMD Xenos
|512 MB GDDR3 RAM
|20GB, 60GB, 120GB or 250GB Detachable HDD
|CD, DVD, Digital, HD-DVD
|2.4GB Wireless, 100Mbit Ethernet
Release Date: 2013
The Xbox One featured a new design and was marketed as an all-in-one home entertainment system. Initially, every Xbox One was sold with the new Kinect 2.0 Sensor which had a better camera and improved tracking. This increased the price of the console to $500. In contrast, the PS4 had an MSRP of $400. At launch, the Xbox One was supposed to be always online and players could not share games with one another.
Later on, the console was sold separately without the Kinect and players no longer had to be online all the time and Microsoft backed away from its game sharing policies but the damage had been done and the console had a very shaky start. All the competition had to do was say the exact opposite of what Microsoft said. Which is exactly what Sony did.
Sony Used Game Share Video: https://youtu.be/kWSIFh8ICaA
Xbox One sold more than 47 million units. The PS4 sold more than 109 million units and the Nintendo Switch sold more than 52 million units. The Xbox One did come with a redesigned controller which made gaming much better but the interface that it had to offer at launch was not user-friendly. It was improved over time.
In 2016, a smaller variant called the Xbox One S was released which could upscale to 4K. In 2019 the Xbox One S All-Digital edition was released which did not have a disk drive.
Original Xbox One Specs
|1.75GHz AMD 8-Core APU
|AMD Radeon 853 MHz
|CD, DVD, Blu-Ray
|Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-fi
Xbox One X
Release Date: 2017
The Xbox One X is best described as an inter-generation upgrade. It could run games at up to 4K resolution. It had faster memory and a better GPU which allowed it to compete with the PS4 Pro.
While the console did offer more power, Microsoft did not have enough exclusive games at the time to make the console worth buyer over the PS4 Pro. The company did provide extensive backward compatibility which allowed gamers to play older Xbox 360 games on the newer consoles. The older games ran at a higher resolution and performed better.
In mid-2017, Microsoft announced Xbox Game Pass, a subscription service that gave gamers access to more than 100 games. This provided immense value for money and was unlike anything that the competition had to offer. Fast forward to early 2022 and Xbox Game Pass is one of the major selling points of the Xbox ecosystem.
|2.3 GHz AMD 8-Core Jaguar Enhanced
|AMD GCN 1172 MHz
|CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, UHD
|Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-fi
Xbox Series X
Release Date: 2020
Xbox Series X is marketed as the most powerful console on the market. It is able to run games at 4K at up to 120 FPS. It can run pretty much any game at 4K 60 FPS in performance mode which is a massive step up compared to the previous generation that was stuck at 30 FPS. The new console also has faster storage which translates to shorter loading times and the ability to switch between two different games and pick up where you left off.
The launch was not perfect due to Covid-19. Games were delayed and supply issues caused the console to be sold out pretty much everywhere all over the world. While the launch was shaky and supply is still problematic in early 2022, the release of games such as Forza Horizon 5, Halo: Infinite, and Flight Simulator did turn things around.
Furthermore, older games got next-generation patches which allowed them to take advantage of the power that the Series X has to offer. GamePass was also a major selling point for the console as it allowed gamers to test the power of the console and revisit older titles and be able to play them at higher resolution and frame rates.
Xbox Series X Specifications
|3.8 GHz Custom AMD Zen 2 (8 Core)
|1825 MHz AMD Custom RDNA-2
|CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, 4k UHD
|Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi
Xbox Series S
Release Date: 2020
The Series S is the little brother to the Series X. Both consoles have the same fast storage and CPU but the Series S has a cutdown GPU. The cheaper, more budget-oriented console is able to hit up to 1440p up to 120 FPS.
Out of the box, the Series S comes with 512GB of storage which is half that of the Series X and there is no optical drive. So you need to download all your games to the console if you want to play them. This also means that if you already have physical copies of games then you cannot use them with the Xbox Series S.
This is best paired with Xbox Game Pass if you are going to stick to a 1080p display and are not interested in upgrading to 4K in the foreseeable future. With a lower price tag and Xbox Game Pass, the Series S offers great value for budget gamers.
These are all the Xbox consoles that Microsoft has released over the years. All things considered, it is pretty early in the life cycle of the Xbox Series S or X to come to any conclusion regarding the success of the consoles but Series X being the most powerful console on the market does give Microsoft an edge, and Game Pass is a cherry on top.
Xbox Series S Specifications
|3.6 GHz Custom AMD Zen 2 (8 Core)
|1550 MHz AMD Custom RDNA 2
|10 GB GDDR6
|Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi
That’s the full run down on all Xbox consoles over the past 20 years. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since playing Halo on that original Xbox. Time flies. Let me know in the comments what your favourite console over the generations was and what was your favourite game?
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