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Comedy in XBOX









XBOX

Manufacturer: Microsoft

Type: Video Game Console

First Available: NA November 15, 2001, JP February 22, 2002, AUS March 14, 2002, EU March 14, 2002

CPU: 733 MHz Intel Pentium III-based Mobile Celeron

Media: DVD, CD

Units Sold: 24 Million as of May 10, 2006

 

The Microsoft console is a sixth generation video game console produced by Microsoft Corporation. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market, and competed directly with Sony's PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Europe and Australia. It is the predecessor to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console.

History

The Microsoft console was Microsoft's first product that ventured into the video game console market, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Dreamcast console. Notable launch titles for the console included Halo: Combat Evolved, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee.

Development

The Microsoft console was initially developed within Microsoft by a small team that included game developer Seamus Blackley. Microsoft repeatedly delayed the console, which was revealed at the end of 1999 following interviews of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Gates stated that a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times of digital entertainment. On March 10, 2000 the "X-box Project" was officially confirmed by Microsoft with a press release.





According to the book Smartbomb, by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby, the remarkable success of the upstart Sony PlayStation worried Microsoft in late 1990s. The growing video game market seemed to threaten the PC market which Microsoft had dominated and relied upon for most of its revenues. Additionally, a venture into the gaming console market would diversify Microsoft's product line, which up to that time had been heavily concentrated on software.

According to Dean Takahashi's book, Opening the Xbox, the console was originally to be named "DirectX-box", to show the extensive use of DirectX within the console's technology. "Xbox" was the final name decided by marketing, but the console still retains some hints towards DirectX, most notably the "X"-shaped logo, which DirectX is famous for, along with the "X" shape on the top of the system.

As the console approached launch, Microsoft's J Allard was responsible for the hardware and system software development, Ed Fries was responsible for game development on the platform, and Mitch Koch was responsible for sales and marketing; all three reported to Robbie Bach. This team was also primarily responsible for Microsoft's follow-up product, the Xbox 360.

360

NVIDIA ceased production of the Microsoft console's GPU in August 2005, which marked the end of the console's production and the quick release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005.

When equipped with a removable hard drive add-on, the 360 supports a limited number of the console's game library through emulation. Emulation adds support for anti-aliasing as well as upscaling of the still standard definition image. These emulators are periodically updated to add compatibility for older games and are available for free through Live or as a file download to be burned to a CD/DVD from the console's web site.

These updates are also available monthly as part of the demo disc that comes with each issue of Official Xbox Magazine. As the architectures are entirely different between Xbox and Xbox 360, software emulation is the only viable option for compatibility without including processors from the original Microsoft console.



Click here for a great XBOX video clip.





Games

Halo: Combat Evolved proved to be a great success for Microsoft Game Studios.

The Microsoft console launched in North America on November 15, 2001. The greatest success of the the console's launch titles was Halo: Combat Evolved which was well received by critics. Its sequel, Halo 2, is the best-selling first-generation Xbox game worldwide. Other successful launch titles included NFL Fever 2002, Project Gotham Racing and Dead or Alive 3. However, the failure of several first-party games (including Fuzion Frenzy and Azurik: Rise of Perathia) damaged the initial public reputation of the console.

Although the console enjoyed strong third party support from its inception, many early Microsoft console games did not take full advantage of its powerful hardware, with few additional features or graphical improvements to distinguish them from the PS2 version, thus negating one of the the console's main selling points. Additionally, Sony countered the Microsoft console for a short time by temporarily securing PlayStation 2 exclusives for highly anticipated games such as the Grand Theft Auto series and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (although they were later ported to the console and are no longer exclusive).

In 2002 and 2003, several releases helped the Microsoft console to gain momentum and distinguish itself from the PS2. The Live online service was launched in late 2002 alongside pilot titles MotoGP, MechAssault and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. Several best-selling and critically acclaimed titles for the console were published, such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Ninja Gaiden and LucasArts' Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Take-Two Interactive's exclusivity deal with Sony was amended to allow Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and its sequels to be published on the the console. In addition, many other publishers got into the trend of releasing the Xbox version alongside the PS2 version, instead of delaying it for months.

In 2004, Halo 2 set records as the highest-grossing release in entertainment history making over $125 million in its first day, as well as being a successful killer app for the online service. That year, Microsoft and Electronic Arts reached a deal that would see the latter's popular titles enabled on Live. The last widely released game for the console was Madden NFL 08, in August 2007. However Ratatouille was released exclusively in EBGames and Gamestop stores on 28th September 2007.

 









Ninja Gaiden was released in 2004 to much critical acclaim.

 

XBOX Live

On November 15, 2002, Microsoft launched its Live online gaming service, allowing subscribers to play online Xbox games with (or against) other subscribers all around the world and download new content for their games to the system's hard drive.

This online service works exclusively with a broadband Internet connection. Approximately 250,000 subscribers had signed up within two months of Live's launch. In July 2004, Microsoft announced that Live had reached one million subscribers, and a year later, in July 2005, that membership had reached two million. An Live Gold subscription (which allows the user to access the most features of any membership) currently costs US$50 a year (roughly US$4 a month). Recently, competitive leagues have been created, namely playing Halo 2. Leagues include prizes and sponsorships.

 
 
 
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