Xbox

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Xbox
Xbox.svg
Product type Video gaming
Owner Microsoft Corporation
Country Microsoft Redmond Campus, Redmond, Washington, United States
Introduced 2001
Markets Worldwide
Registered as a trademark in Worldwide

The Xbox is a video gaming brand created by Microsoft. It includes a series of video game consoles developed by Microsoft, with consoles in the sixth to eighth generations, as well as applications (games), streaming services, and the online service, Xbox Live. The brand was first introduced on November 15, 2001 in the United States, with the launch of the original Xbox console.

That original device was the first video game console offered by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996. It reached over 24 million units sold as of May 10, 2006.[1] Microsoft's second console, the Xbox 360, was released in 2005 and has sold over 77.2 million consoles worldwide as of April 18, 2013.[2] The successor to the Xbox 360 and Microsoft's most recent console, the Xbox One,[3] was revealed on May 21, 2013.[4] The Xbox One has been released in 21 markets around the world on November 22, 2013,[5] with the UK as its first country.[6] The head of Xbox is Phil Spencer, who succeeded former head Marc Whitten in late March 2014.[7]

Consoles

Xbox

Xbox console with "Controller S"

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.[8]

The integrated Xbox Live service launched in November 2002 allowed players to play games online with a broadband connection.[9][10] It first competed with Dreamcast's online service but later primarily competed with PlayStation 2's online service. Although these two are free while Xbox Live required a subscription, as well as broadband-only connection which was not completely adopted yet, Xbox Live was a success due to better servers, features such as a buddy list, and milestone titles like Halo 2 released in November 2004, which is the best-selling Xbox video game and was by far the most popular online game for years.

Xbox 360

Left: Xbox 360 Elite, Right: Xbox 360 S and new-style controller

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.[11] 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.[12][13][14]

The Xbox 360 introduced an expanded Xbox Live service (which now included a limited "Free" tier), the ability to stream multimedia content from PCs, while later updates added the ability to purchase and stream music, television programs, and films through the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services, along with access to third-party content services through third-party media streaming applications. Microsoft also released Kinect, a motion control system for the Xbox 360 which uses an advanced sensor system.

At their E3 presentation on June 14, 2010, Microsoft announced a redesigned Xbox 360 that would ship on the same day.[15] 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.[16] Older models of the Xbox 360 have since been discontinued.[17] The first new console to be released features a 250 GB hard drive, while a later less expensive SKU features 4 GB internal storage.

Xbox One

The Xbox One with the redesigned Kinect and controller

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 as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles.

Announced on May 21, 2013,[18] the Xbox One will place a large emphasis on internet-based features; including the ability to record and stream gameplay, and 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.[19][20][21][22]

Following its unveiling, the Xbox One proved controversial for its original digital rights management and privacy practices; while Microsoft touted the ability for users to access their library of games (regardless of whether they were purchased physically or digitally) on any Xbox One console without needing their discs, and the ability to share their entire library with 10 designated "family" members, all games would have to be tied to the user's Xbox Live account and their Xbox One console, and the console would be required to connect to the Internet on a periodic basis (at least once every 24 hours) in order to synchronize the library, or else the console would be unable to play any games at all.[23][24] 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.[25] 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. Despite showing a commitment to user privacy, Microsoft still ultimately decided to allow the console to function without Kinect.[26][27][28]

Comparison

Xbox Xbox 360 Xbox One
Console Xbox-Console-Set.png Xbox-360-Consoles-Infobox.png Xbox One Console Set.jpg
Console Launch price US$299.99
GB£299.99
€479,99

US$299.99 (Core) (discontinued)
US$399.99 (Premium – 20 GB) (discontinued)
US$249.99 (Premium – 60 GB) (discontinued)
US$479.99 (Elite) (120 GB) (discontinued)
US$299.99 (Arcade – 256 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
US$199.99 (Arcade – 512 MB internal memory) (discontinued)
US$299.99 ("Super Elite") (250 GB) (discontinued)
US$399.99 (Xbox 360 S – 250 GB + Kinect)
US$299.99 (Xbox 360 S – 250 GB)
US$299.99 (Xbox 360 S – 4 GB internal memory + Kinect)
US$199.99 (Xbox 360 S – 4 GB internal memory)
US$199.99 (Xbox 360 E – 4 GB internal memory)
US$299.99 (Xbox 360 E – 250 GB)
US$299.99 (Xbox 360 E – 4 GB internal memory + Kinect)

US$499
GB£429
€499
Release date
  • NA November 15, 2001
  • JP February 22, 2002
  • EU March 14, 2002
  • NA November 22, 2005
  • EU December 2, 2005
  • JP December 10, 2005
  • AUS March 23, 2006
Further information: Xbox 360 launch#Release dates and pricing
November 22, 2013[29]
Discontinued N/A N/A
Units sold 24+ million (as of May 10, 2006)[1] 77.2 million (as of April 18, 2013)[2](details) 3 million (as of January 6, 2014)[30]
Best-selling game Halo 2, 8 million (as of May 9, 2006)[31][32] Kinect Adventures (pack-in with Kinect peripheral), 24 million[33]

Best selling non-bundled game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, 14.23 million[34]

N/A
Media CD, DVD CD, DVD, HD DVD (movies only) with add-on drive CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc[35]
Accessories (retail)
  • Xbox Live Starter Kit
  • Xbox Media Center Extender
  • DVD Playback Kit
  • Xbox Music Mixer
  • Memory Unit (8 MB)
  • Logitech Wireless Controller (2.4 GHz)
  • More...

see Xbox 360 accessories

TBA
CPU 733 MHz x86 Intel Celeron/Pentium III Custom Hybrid CPU 3.2 GHz IBM PowerPC tri-core CPU codenamed "Xenon" 1.75 GHz AMD x86-64 eight-core CPU codenamed "Jaguar"[36]
GPU 233 MHz nVidia custom GeForce 3 NV2A DirectX 8.0 based GPU 500 MHz ATi custom Radeon X1800 DirectX 9.0c based GPU codenamed "Xenos" 853 MHz AMD Radeon HD 7000 series DirectX 11.1 based GPU codenamed "Durango"
Memory 64 MB DDR SDRAM @ 200 MHz; in dual-channel 128-bit configuration giving 6400 MB/s 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM @ 700 MHz 22.4 GB/s, 10 MB EDRAM GPU frame buffer memory 8 GB of DDR3 RAM @ 2133 MHz 68.3 GB/s,[35] 32 MB ESRAM GPU frame buffer memory
Video I/O

Various monitor resolutions available via VGA and HDMI/DVI (640×480, 848×480, 1024×768, 1280×720, 1280×768, 1280×1024, 1360×768, 1440×900, 1680×1050 & 1920×1080)

Audio I/O
Online service Xbox Live (2002–10) XLink Kai (2003-present) Xbox Live
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Marketplace
Xbox Live Vision (webcam), headset
Xbox Live Video Marketplace
Windows Live Messenger
Internet Explorer (Xbox Live Gold required)
VideoKinect (Kinect sensor is no longer needed)
Xbox Live
Xbox Store
Internet Explorer
Skype
Backward compatibility N/A 50% of Xbox Library None[37]
System software Xbox Music Mixer
DVD Playback Kit, Xbox Linux
see Xbox 360 system software Xbox OS
System software
features
Audio CD playback
TBA
Consumer programmability Via Softmods and/or modchips; Modified Windows CE 2.x, Linux Development on PC with XNA Game Studio ($99/year subscription, binary distribution with XNA 1.0 Refresh)[40] TBA

Games

Each console has a variety of games. Most games released on the original Xbox are backwards compatible and can be played directly on its successor, Xbox 360. Xbox One is not backward compatible with original Xbox or Xbox 360 games.

Online services

Xbox Live

Xbox Live is an online service with over 40 million users worldwide (as of January 10, 2012).[41] It comprises an online virtual market, the Xbox Live Marketplace, which allows the purchase and download of games and various forms of multimedia. Online gaming on the Xbox first started on November 15, 2002 worldwide. The service is still active and continues to be played by gamers.

Xbox Live Marketplace

The Xbox Live Marketplace (XBLM) is a virtual market designed for Microsoft's Xbox 360 console that allows Xbox Live members to download purchased or promotional content. The service offers movie and game trailers, Video Store, game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, Xbox Live Indie Games (Previously Community Games), Games on Demand (Xbox 360 and Xbox Originals), downloadable content such as map packs, gamer pictures, and Xbox 360 Dashboard themes.

The August 11, 2009 update added Xbox 360 games for download, the Avatar Marketplace, and renamed Community Games to Indie Games.

The Spring 2007 update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard relocated the Marketplace to its own "blade" in order to bring more attention to the service and make it more accessible to users. Although this has been obsoleted by the NXE update, the section has been implemented into three separate sections in the Dashboard: the Game Marketplace, Video & Music Marketplace, and Avatar Marketplace.

Downloaded content requires enough space on either the Xbox 360's hard drive, or an Xbox 360 Memory Unit. Selected downloads are placed in a queue and are downloaded whilst the console is powered on and is connected to Xbox Live. Users can choose to send certain downloads to the front of the queue to be downloaded first. Downloads are temporarily halted during certain times where games make use of Xbox Live's features (e.g. online multiplayer).

Xbox SmartGlass

Xbox SmartGlass is a companion application for Xbox 360 available for Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, Android (version 4.0 and above)[42] and Windows Server 2012. It was announced by Microsoft during E3 2012 and released on October 26, 2012, coinciding with the release of Windows 8.[43] It connects with the Xbox 360 and allows more interactive entertainment, allowing mobile devices to potentially serve as second screens and remote controller. Currently Windows 8 and Windows RT Tablets and PCs, Windows Phone (7.5 and 8) iOS devices, and Android smartphones (4.x) are compatible with SmartGlass,[44] providing information such as Halo 4 stats and Forza Horizon GPS.[45] Users of Windows Server 2012 can currently download the application from the Windows Store after installing the Windows Desktop Experience feature in the Server Manager.[46]

Software

Xbox 360 Dashboard

The Xbox 360's original graphical user interface was the Xbox 360 Dashboard; a tabbed interface that featured five "Blades" (formerly four blades), and was designed by AKQA and Audiobrain. It could be launched automatically when the console booted without a disc in it, or when the disc tray was ejected, but the user had the option to select what the console does if a game is in the tray on start up, or if inserted when already on. A simplified version of it was also accessible at any time via the Xbox Guide button on the gamepad. This simplified version showed the user's gamercard, Xbox Live messages and friends list. It also allowed for personal and music settings, in addition to voice or video chats, or returning to the Xbox Dashboard from the game.

Controllers

Early Xbox controller

Original Xbox controller, first showcased in 2000
Xbox Controller S, which first shipped in 2002

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).[47] The standard Xbox controller (originally nicknamed the "Fatty"[48] and later the "Duke"[49]) was originally the controller bundled with Xbox systems for all territories except Japan.

Xbox 360 Controller

Xbox 360 S Controller

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 center of the controller face are digital "Start", "Back" and "Guide" buttons. The "Guide" button is labelled with the Xbox logo, and is used to turn on the console/controller and to access the guide menu. It is also surrounded by the "ring of light", which 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.

Xbox 360 Kinect

The Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor

Kinect is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console and Windows PCs. Based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral for the Xbox 360 console, it enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands.[50] The project is aimed at broadening the Xbox 360's audience beyond its typical gamer base.[51] Kinect competes with the Wii Remote Plus and PlayStation Move with PlayStation Eye motion controllers for the Wii and PlayStation 3 home consoles, respectively. A version for Windows was released on February 1, 2012.[52]

Kinect was launched in North America on November 4, 2010,[53] in Europe on November 10, 2010,[54] in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore on November 18, 2010,[55][56][57] and in Japan on November 20, 2010.[58] Purchase options for the sensor peripheral include a bundle with the game Kinect Adventures and console bundles with either a 4 GB[59][60][61] or 250 GB[62] Xbox 360 console and Kinect Adventures.[59][60][61][62]

The Kinect claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device" after selling a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days.[63][64][65] 24 million units of the Kinect sensor had been shipped as of January 2012.[33]

Microsoft released Kinect software development kit for Windows 7 on June 16, 2011.[66][67][68] This SDK was meant to allow developers to write Kinecting apps in C++/CLI, C#, or Visual Basic .NET.[69][70]

Additional information on the Xbox One Kinect was released on June 6, 2013, including information on how to turn off the "always on" feature.[71]

Xbox One Controller

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 no longer present. It has impulse triggers that replaces the regular triggers. The button with the Xbox logo will no longer bring up the Xbox Guide as the Xbox Guide Button on the Xbox 360 controller did. 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.[72]

Xbox One Kinect

The Xbox one Kinect sensor

Although featuring improved performance over the original Kinect, its successor has been subject to mixed responses. It has been praised for its wide angle, its fast response time and high quality camera. However, the Kinect's inability to understand some accents in English was criticized. Furthermore, controversies surround Microsoft's intentional tying of the sensor with the Xbox One console despite the initial requirements for the sensor being plugged in at all times having been revised since its initial announcement. There have also been a number of concerns regarding privacy.

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External links