On November 15th the original Xbox turns 15 years old, and for me it’s been a fun ride. I can remember going to my local Gamestop on launch day in 2001, and not being completely sold on it until I played the demo of Dead or Alive 3. After playing the demo I turned to my friend who worked there, and told him to get one out of the back, I was sold. Apparently I was not the only one, the Xbox ended up being a huge success despite going up against Sony, Sega, and Nintendo who were well established at the time. Of course one of the big gotta have titles was the original Halo, and it was only playable on Xbox, it was a system seller.
One thing that Microsoft did that at the time that was controversial was not including a modem port, only a ethernet connector on the back of the console, there was also quite a bit of discussion about this within the company before release. In the end, it was very forward thinking, since at the time most homes still had dialup internet access.
One year later Xbox Live launched, and it changed the face of gaming. I remember getting online the first day, picking my gamertag, and playing Ghost Recon multiplayer, it was amazing. The Xbox Live Starter Kit came with a headset, and a cd to update the system software on the console.
There were also a lot of great games, Halo 2 comes to mind due to the fact that you could now play online, and Star Wars Knights of The Old Republic, there are just too many great games for me to list here. We also saw the original Xbox controller that was large and unwieldy be replaced with the S style controller, the S controller would evolve into the one we have today.
In 2005 the Xbox 360 arrived, with wireless controllers, and a new version of Xbox Live, along with a design flaw. Many 360’s suffered from a design flaw that would cause the system to overheat and display a red ring on the front of the console, rendering the system unusable, this cost Microsoft billions of dollars, fixing, and replacing customers broken consoles. It would be fixed when the company redesigned the console and released the 360S. The 360S would have usb 2.0 ports allowing the use of standard flash drives, and also the introduction of the Kinect motion tracking device. In the fall of 2008 Microsoft released the New Xbox Experience, that updated the operating system, and the user interface. The Xbox team also made some of the original Xbox titles compatible so they would be playable on the 360.
Microsoft released the Xbox One in November of 2013, There was some controversy regarding digital rights management at the time, and after public outcry Microsoft backed down. With it’s release we saw a new version of Kinect, along with the capability to stream, and record gameplay, and you could connect the console to a set top box, like a cable box or Tivo. 2016 saw a revision of the console the Xbox One S, that’s smaller, and includes 4K video support including a 4K dvd drive. One thing missing from the S is a Kinect port that the previous version had, it looks like Microsoft is moving away from the Kinect. The Xbox team is also making some of the Xbox 360 games compatible with the Xbox One similar to what they did with the Xbox 360.
At E3 2016 the Xbox One Scorpio was announced for a 2017 holiday release. It will support 4K HDR gaming, and VR, and have a much more powerful CPU, and GPU than the original Xbox One or One S. Exact pricing, and release date have not been announced yet, I expect to hear more at E3 2017. One thing Microsoft did say was that all Xbox One games would run on the entire Xbox One product line.
Now here’s where I speculate what we might see, past the Xbox Scorpio, and beyond the Xbox One product line. Of course a new generation of console will be more powerful, but what else? I think we will see a move away from games on disc, and more digital downloads, and maybe on memory cards not unlike what the upcoming Nintendo Switch is going to use. Say goodbye to your standard hard drive, with solid state drives falling in price, and having better performance it’s likely that they will be used instead of a standard hard drive. VR, and augmented reality like Microsoft’s Hololens will also be supported. Believe it or not 8K tv’s are on the horizon, so I think support for those is a possibility as well.
So thats where Xbox has been, is currently at, and possible will be going. Happy Birthday Xbox, what fond memories do you have you have of the Xbox? Let us know in the comments.