Xbox – A Quick Look

The console gaming wars of the 1990s took place between three major Japanese companies, Sega, Nintendo and Sony. At the time, Sega and Nintendo were old veterans of the industry while Sony was seen as an ambitious newcomer to the market.. In 2001 however, a fourth player entered the arena. Microsoft entered the market with their most ambitious project yet, the Xbox.

It was the first time that Microsoft entered the console wars despite the fact that they had produced software games for various platforms (Mainly PC). This left us with a four-way battle for supremacy between the PlayStation 2, Sega Dreamcast, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Gamecube.

But a console is only as good as the games that are available for it. Knowing this, Microsoft bought a software company called Bungie, which was developing a game you may have heard of, Halo. The plan was to use a Halo as a means of getting new gamers on to the Xbox upon the consoles release.

Halo went on to become one of the most successful console games of all time with over one million copies sold within the year. Various gaming magazines gave it very high marks for graphics, gameplay and its multiplayer capability.

By 2005, Microsoft retired the venerable Xbox in preparation of releasing its next console, the Xbox 360. This new console was superior in almost every way to its predecessor. Its graphics were far better as well as featuring a larger default storage space. The various types of Xbox 360’s sold only differed in terms of storage space.

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However, this was needed as it was going head to head with the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3, two consoles that had equally remarkable specifications. It was also integrated with a service called Xbox Live, which is basically an online environment that allowed players to compete against one another. This service also featured various news streams such as ESPN, Sky Sports and Netflix. It has since gone on to sell over fifty million units as of 2011.

In 2010 however, Microsoft released their latest iteration of the 360. The latest console was named Xbox 360 S or Xbox 360 Slim that many gamers like to call them. This console is an upgraded 360 which featured a slimmer case and integrated Wi-Fi while having a minimum of two hundred and fifty gigabytes of storage space.

The size of the motherboard was decreased to allow greater space within the console (30% extra space) and its internals were redesigned to feature greater operating stability and reduced noise output. It featured five USB ports as standard kit and also had an interesting technology integrated within it called Kinect. Kinect is essentially Microsoft’s answer to the Nintendo Wii’s remote controller.

The Kinect is basically a motion sensing device that “sees” movement via a type of webcam add-on that you can purchase. It allows gamers to interact and manipulate objects or characters within the game simply via movement. Unlike the Nintendo Wii, the use of a controller is not needed.

Interestingly, the launch of the device has enabled Microsoft to break records once again as it is the fastest selling electronic device the world has ever seen with over eight million sold within the first two months of its launch. With the need for such technological innovations to ensure an edge over its competitors, it seems like Microsoft’s effort in the console gaming industry has been paying off. As such, the Xbox is likely to be a major player for decades to come.

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