The Xbox (later referred to as Original Xbox or Xbox Classic) is Microsoft's first entry in the video gaming console market and was released in 2001. It competed against the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Sega Dreamcast during its lifetime. It was succeeded by the Xbox 360 in 2005. It was discontinued first in Japan on June 4, 2006, in Europe on March 11, 2007, and in North America on March 2, 2009.
The Xbox was the strongest console of its generation, ahead of the GameCube.
Why It Rocks
- The Xbox revolutionized online gaming with Xbox Live, a fee-based service released in 2002. It enabled gamers to download new content and unlike the GameCube, Dreamcast, and PlayStation 2 Fat, the Xbox had an integrated Ethernet port. Xbox Live supported the original Xbox until April 15, 2010, though there is a group of developers that are working on a project called Insignia to bring it back.
- It is the first console to include a built-in hard drive for save files. If you have experience, you can upgrade the console with an SSD.
- It introduced the Halo, Fable, and Forza franchises.
- It introduced Xbox Live Arcade in 2004, one of the first online marketplaces for digital games on consoles.
- It was the most powerful video gaming console of its generation, because of this it has many console-exclusive games while some games, such as the Splinter Cell series, had inferior versions made for the PlayStation 2 and GameCube. Besides that, it was also very easy to program for, as the console shares much in common with an ordinary x86 based PC.
- Re-released many PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, and GameCube games (such as the first two Fatal Frame and Grand Theft Auto games) and added extra content that those versions didn't have as well, such as improved graphics.
- Most multi-platform games run really well on the Xbox during that generation. Games like Black, which bring the PlayStation 2 to its limits, run effortlessly on Xbox.
- Around 1000 games got released for the system.
- Just like the PlayStation 2, it can play musics on CDs and movies on DVDs, though watching DVDs requires the DVD peripheral to be plugged into a controller port and a remote.
- Home video distributors could put Xbox game demos on their DVDs. One example is the 2004 Star Wars trilogy DVD set, which included a demo of Star Wars: Battlefront on the bonus disc.
- Some commercials of this console were pretty funny such as the banned Life is Short commercial, and the Dark Master skits from the demos menu of some games.
- The controller has ports where you insert memory cards or a headphone adapter for voice chat.
- Speaking of controllers, the redesigned controller S is surprisingly comfortable and fit into smaller hands too unlike the original Duke controller.
- Controller cables utilized breakaway dongles to help reduce damage to the console: in case someone tripped on the controller cable, the cable would easily break off of the console instead of pulling the console and possibly have it fall to the floor.
- The startup intro is still amazing nearly 20 years later.
- It was the first console to have HD and widescreen support, though the HD support was removed in PAL regions.
- Due to its power advantage, it can be modded to play almost any console released before it. Besides that, you can turn it into a little home theater PC with XBMC!
- The console along with its games are surprisingly dirt cheap nowadays, which is great for collectors or people that just want to play Xbox games, especially in Japan, where you can find one at Hard Off (if you're lucky,) for only ¥1000, which is roughly $10.
- The original controller for the system was too large for many gamers hands, which gained the controller nicknames such as "Fatty" and later the "Duke". The controller that replaced it, the "Controller S", was interestingly the standard controller for the Japanese market. The Duke has received a cult following, having a improved controller by Hyperkin that works with Windows 10 and Xbox One. It even plays the original intro when you tap the Xbox button.
- The S controller unfortunately moved the start and back buttons to the left side while the Duke has them in the middle where they should be, this made reaching and pushing them very uncomfortable.
- Both the Duke and S controllers only have two analog triggers and black and white buttons instead of shoulder buttons. The successor Xbox 360 controller replaced the black and white buttons with two shoulder buttons above the triggers, and made it much easier to control certain games.
- You can use a PS2/360 to Xbox controller converter to play Xbox games with a PS2/360 controller.
- There wasn't a "mascot character" associated with the console. Microsoft had Blinx: The Time Sweeper as an attempt to get a mascot but the franchise didn't last long due to lack of popularity and sales, over time, however, Master Chief from the Halo series would become the unofficial mascot for the Xbox brand.
- Like mentioned above, you need a DVD peripheral and a remote in order to watch DVDs on the Xbox. It didn't help the fact that the console was also really expensive at launch, at a price of $499.
- Many early Xbox consoles tend to break down easily due to the clock capacitor acid leaking which corrodes the motherboard. It can even result a lot of disc noise to where you can't play a game, listen to a CD, or watch a DVD anymore.
- As mentioned below, it didn't do well in Japan, as the Japanese only bought it for Dead or Alive games.
- The faceplate can come off easily when dropped from a tall height.
- This is the first console to have paid online multiplayer which, unfortunately, will have Sony and Nintendo do the same thing two generations later.
While it lost to the PlayStation 2 by a huge margin, the Xbox sold an acceptable 24 million units and was very popular in North America, enough to get a successor, the Xbox 360. It even outsold the Nintendo GameCube, which had 21.74 million units sold. Despite its popularity in the West, however, it and the entirety of the Xbox brand for that matter, sold very poorly in Japan.
The Xbox is considered the Atari of the 21st century because it was the only American console brand which debuted in the 21st century.
- To some extent, the Xbox can be considered the successor to the Sega Dreamcast, to the point that the console's hardware design was strongly inspired by the Dreamcast. In fact, Sega initially negotiated with Microsoft to make the Xbox backwards compatible with the Dreamcast. That didn't happen though, instead, the Xbox got many games that were intended to be made for the Dreamcast prior to its discontinuation. The Duke controller also shares some similarities to the Dreamcast controller.
- Despite the Duke controller's negative reception from critics, it was loved by older gamer's and collectors and it's still a decent controller to start an xbox collection with. It was later remade as a Xbox One and Windows 10 controller by Hyperkin.
- The name "Xbox" was derived from "DirectX Box" which was a reference to Microsoft's graphics API, DirectX.
- The creation of the first Xbox (and of the Xbox brand as a whole) has an interesting history behind it: Microsoft's then CEO Bill Gates saw that the upcoming PlayStation 2 would threaten and kill consumer interest in the Windows PC market. So Gates then assigned a team from Microsoft's DirectX division to make a console that would run off of their DirectX technology. The final result was the first Xbox console.
- While in development, the Xbox was codenamed 'Project Midway', which is a reference to the famous Battle of Midway during WWII, where America strategically beat Imperial Japanese forces.
- The codename was a representation of how Microsoft wanted to surpass Sony in the home console market (which, ironically, they have yet to do so).