After seeing how successful the gaming market was, Microsoft decided it was time to produce a home console; The Xbox (which originally was going to be called the DirectX-box) was released in North America on November 15, 2001, Japan on February 22, and Europe and Australia on March 14, 2002.
It was the direct competitor of the Nintendo GameCube and the PlayStation 2. It was the first home console on the market to include an internal hard drive by default. This was a breakthrough at the time as it made games run faster that used the HDD and also allowed players to save their progress without the use of a Memory Card. The Xbox shipped with a custom made Intel processor based on the Intel III architecture. This processor allowed faster calculations resulting in a much more realistic gaming experience at the time. nVidia produced the Xbox’s GPU which allowed better graphics than other consoles at the time.
When first released, the controller (with the exception of the controller found in Japan) was criticized for being abnormally large compared to its competitors. Eventually, it became known as "The Fatty" or "The Duke" and was replaced with the smaller controller sold in Japan, known as the "Controller S" or "S Type".
The system was replaced by the Xbox 360 in 2005 and by the end of 2005 production of the original Xbox had ceased. The final game for the system was Madden NFL 09, released on August 12th 2008.
Xbox was the first console to include a built in hard drive. Users were able to rip music from their CD collection and listen from the Xbox's hard drive. This also made custom in-game soundtracks possible. The first game to take advantage of this was Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto Double Pack. The Xbox was the first console to charge an annual fee to play online and introduced fully integrated online gaming on home consoles with the introduction of Xbox Live.
When the Xbox launched on November 21, 2001, the console quickly sold out in North America. In Japan, however, the console sold only 250,000 units. After its release in November 2004 Halo 2 became the best selling Xbox title worldwide, selling over 8 million copies, thanks in large part to the quality of its online multiplayer through Xbox Live. It was arguably the most popular online mutliplayer shooter on home consoles during the sixth-generation of consoles.
According to Microsoft the Xbox has sold over 24 million worldwide as of 2006.
Microsoft officially no longer offers console repairs on the Xbox after March 2, 2009. Microsoft is rumored to offer an Xbox 360 upgrade offer to users of the original Xbox. Real support for the Xbox ended on November 22, 2005 with the launch of the console's successor, the Xbox 360. Xbox Live support for the Xbox was discontinued for all Xbox original games on April 15th 2010.
- 320 x 100 x 260 mm (12.5 x 4 x 10.5 in)
- 2-5x DVD
- 10 GB hard disk
- 8 MB memory card
- 4 Controller ports
- 2 Memory Card slots
- AV Multi Out connector
- 2 USB connectors
- i.Link (TM (IEEE1394 connector)
- An internal hard drive, for storage of game information -- a first in the console gaming industry. The Hard Drive also could store music for use in some games.
- An Intel 733MHz processor, the most powerful CPU of any console at the time of launch.
- An NVIDIA graphics processing unit (GPU, delivering more than three times the graphics performance of other consoles.
- An Ethernet port for fast-action online gaming via a broadband connection.
- A multisignal audio-video connector that allows for easy hookup to televisions and home theater systems.
- A front-loading slide-out DVD tray.
- Four game controller ports that allow easy multiplayer gaming and enable other peripherals, ranging from game pads to voice-activated headsets.