Microsoft Xbox Game Console — History of the Video Game Consoles

History of Microsoft Xbox
2001 – 2006


The Microsoft Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console. The Xbox was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 Europe. This was Microsoft’s first foray into the gaming console market and was well received by critiques and fans. One element that would lead to its success was the introduction of the Xbox Live service that allowed players to play games online and interact socially.


Microsoft Xbox game console

Above: Microsoft Xbox game console


The Microsoft Xbox was discontinued in late 2006 to make way for the Microsoft Xbox 360. Over the course of its history, Microsoft managed to sell 24 million console with 8 million of them being attributed to the success of Halo: Combat Evolved.


History of Microsoft Xbox Team

In 1998 four engineers got together in the hopes of developing a game console to compete with SONY. The developers were from Microsoft’s DirectX team: Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley, Ted Hase and DirectX team leader Otto Berkes.


Ted Hase xbox team lead

Above: Ted Hase xbox team lead


They started by taking apart Dell laptops to construct a prototype Microsoft Windows-based video game console. Laptops were used because the internal parts were small, which is key for developing a game console. As it was, the Xbox was a rather large machine and was criticized for essentially being an off the shelf computer in a box.

During development, the original DirectX box name was shortened to Xbox. Microsoft’s marketing department did not like the Xbox name, and suggested many alternatives. During focus testing, the Xbox name was left on the list of possible names to demonstrate how unpopular the Xbox name would be with consumers. However, consumer testing revealed that Xbox was preferred by far over the other suggested names and “Xbox” became the official name of the product.

History of Microsoft Xbox; Success the first time

The Xbox was Microsoft’s first video game console after collaborating with Sega to port Windows CE to the Dreamcast console. Microsoft repeatedly delayed the console, which was first mentioned publicly in late 1999 during interviews with then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Gates stated that a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times.[8] When Bill Gates unveiled the Xbox at the Game Developers Conference in 2000, audiences were impressed by the console’s technology. At the time of Gates’ announcement, Sega’s Dreamcast sales were diminishing and Sony’s PlayStation 2 was just going on sale in Japan.


Key to success: Bungie


Xbox Halo combat evolved

Above: Xbox Halo combat evolved


In preparation for its launch, Microsoft acquired Bungie and used Halo: Combat Evolved as its launch title. In 2002, Microsoft overtook Nintendo to capture the second place slot in consoles sold in North America.

Popular launch games for the console included Dead or Alive 3, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fuzion Frenzy and Project Gotham Racing, Jet Set Radio Future.


Microsoft Xbox's original fat and heavy game controller

Above: Microsoft Xbox’s original fat and heavy game controller



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