Xbox is a video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft. It represents a series of video game consoles developed by Microsoft, with three consoles released in the sixth, seventh, and eighth generations respectively. The brand also represents applications (games), streaming services, and an online service by the name of Xbox Live. The brand was first introduced on November 15, 2001 in the United States, with the launch of the original Xbox console.
The original Xbox was released on November 15, 2001, in North America, February 22, 2002, in Japan, and March 14, 2002, in Australia and Europe. It was Microsoft’s first foray into the gaming console market. As part of the sixth-generation of gaming, the Xbox competed with Sony’s PlayStation 2, Sega’s Dreamcast (which stopped American sales before the Xbox went on sale), and Nintendo’s GameCube. The Xbox was the first console offered by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996. The name Xbox was derived from a contraction of DirectX Box, a reference to Microsoft’s graphics API, DirectX.
The integrated Xbox Live service launched in November 2002 allowed players to play games online with or without a broadband connection. It first competed with Dreamcast’s online service but later primarily competed with PlayStation 2’s online service.
The Xbox 360 was released as the successor of the original Xbox in November 2005, competing with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. As of June 30, 2013, 78.2 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold worldwide. The Xbox 360 was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information divulged later that month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The console sold out completely upon release in all regions except in Japan.
At their E3 presentation on June 14, 2010, Microsoft announced a redesigned Xbox 360 that would ship on the same day. The redesigned console is slimmer than the previous Xbox 360 model and features integrated 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, TOSLINK S/PDIF optical audio output, five USB 2.0 ports (compared to the three from older versions) and special port designed for the Kinect peripheral. Older models of the Xbox 360 have since been discontinued. The first new console to be released features a 250 GB hard drive, while a later less expensive SKU features 4 GB internal storage.
The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013 in North America, as the successor of the Xbox 360. The Xbox One competes with Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Nintendo’s Wii U consoles.
Announced on May 21, 2013, the Xbox One now has a large emphasis on internet-based features; including the ability to record and stream gameplay. It gives the ability to integrate with a set-top box to watch cable or satellite TV through the console with an enhanced guide interface and Kinect-based voice control.
After an overwhelmingly negative response from critics and consumers (who also showed concerns that the system could prevent or hinder the resale of used games), Microsoft announced that these restrictions would be dropped. Microsoft was also criticized for requiring the Xbox One to have its updated Kinect peripheral plugged in to function, which critics and privacy advocates believed could be used as a surveillance device. As a gesture toward showing a commitment to user privacy, Microsoft decided to allow the console to function without Kinect. On June 13, 2016, Microsoft announced the Xbox One S, a slimmer version of the Xbox One, at E3 2016.
Xbox SmartGlass is a companion application for Xbox 360 available for Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Phone, iOS, Android (version 4.0 and above) and Windows Server 2012. It was announced by Microsoft during E3 2012 and released on October 26, 2012. It connects with the Xbox 360 and allows more interactive entertainment.
Released in 2001, the Xbox control pad was the first controller made for the original Xbox. The Xbox controller features two analog sticks. A pressure-sensitive directional pad, two analog triggers, a Back button, a Start button, two accessory slots and six 8-bit analog action buttons. A/Green, B/Red, X/Blue, Y/Yellow, and Black and White buttons.
Released in 2005, the Xbox 360 controller for the Xbox 360 succeeded its predecessor. A standard Xbox 360 controller features eleven digital buttons, two analog triggers, two analog sticks and a digital D-pad. The right face of the controller features four digital actions buttons; a green “A” button, red “B” button, blue “X” button and yellow “Y” button. The lower right houses the right analog stick, in lower left is a digital D-pad and on the left face is the left analog stick.
Both analog sticks can also be “clicked in” to activate a digital button beneath. In the centre of the controller face are digital “Start”, “Back” and “Guide” buttons. The “Guide” button is labelled with the Xbox logo. It is used to turn on the console/controller and to access the guide menu. Xbox logo is also surrounded by the “ring of light”. It indicates the controller number, as well as flashing when connecting and to provide notifications. The left and right “shoulders” each feature a digital shoulder button, or “bumper”, and an analog trigger.
The Xbox One console has a revised controller with forty improvements over the 360’s controller. This new controller is built to work with Kinect. The Start and Back buttons are replaced with Menu and View buttons. It has impulse triggers that replace the regular triggers. The button with the Xbox logo will no longer bring up the Xbox Guide. The button will now open up the dashboard without interrupting the game currently being played by the user. Once pressed again, the Xbox will resume the game.