The History of The Xbox

The Xbox is a series of stationary gaming consoles that have been making waves in gaming since the very first console. The most recent Xbox is on its final legs and what better way to pay homage than to go through the history of the console.

The first Xbox was originally code-named the DirectXbox. It got its name from the DirectX software. At the time of its release in the late 1990s, DirectX revolutionized the 3D gaming scene on PCs. This breakthrough inspired Microsoft’s first console idea that would eventually take the world by storm.






As of today, the Xbox has released three generations of gaming consoles. This list will take you through the consoles and their impressive milestones in the world of gaming.

Xbox (2001)


  • CPU: Intel Pentium III – 733 MHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA NV2A – 233 MHz
  • Memory: 64 MB DDR SDRAM
  • Hard Drive: 8 GB HDD
  • Optical Drive: CD Rom, DVD Rom
  • Video Output: S-Video, SCART (RGB)
  • Network: Fast Ethernet
  • Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound, Stereo

This is the first console from the Xbox franchise that Microsoft released on November 15, 2001. It featured black and green theme colors and it’s famous big size. It was a 6th generation console that was released when the  PlayStation 2, GameCube and Dreamcast were flooding the market. Microsoft has to move up through this very competitive market and they did just that; selling 550,000 units in its first week.

The prototype for this console was basically a combination of parts from dismantled Dell Laptops. Microsoft decided to redesign it by using the PC’s x86 architecture. This was very rare for consoles at that time. As mentioned before, it was codenamed the “DirectX Box“ after DirectX graphics technology. It was later shortened simply to Xbox. It was also the first console to have an Ethernet port and a broadband connection. It also launched the Xbox live system that allowed seamless online multiplayer.

Considered the biggest hit for the Xbox and easily the best game on the Xbox was the science fiction first-person shooter game, Halo, developed by Bungie. It featured smooth gameplay and its sequel, Halo 2, featured a massive multiplayer mode. The Halo series was already enough reason to buy the Xbox. It was released at a steady price of $299. It sold 24+ million units as of May 10, 2006.

Xbox 360 (2005)

  • CPU: Microsoft XCPU (Xenon), 3 cores – 500 MHz
  • GPU: R500, Xenos chip by ATI – 500 MHz
  • Memory: 512 MB GDDR3 RAM
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB HDD
  • Optical Drive: 12x DVD
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.2a in/out
  • Network: Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Audio: Multichannel 5.1 Surround Sound

This Seventh generation gaming console was released on November 22, 2005. With Sega out of the console making business, the market was dominated by Nintendo, Microsoft, and PlayStation. The earliest builds of the Xbox 360 were dotted with hardware failures due to overheating. There were a number of inconveniences for owners including the infamous ring of death. These kinks forced Microsoft’s hand to fix and replace ever system and extend the warranty of the console.

The Xbox 360 suffered a tough blow from this but luckily, a  series of massive exclusive hit titles like Crackdown, Gears of War, Dead Rising and Mass Effect helped to keep the people loyal on the console. The Xbox live service continued on this console and was expanded further. The prices for the Xbox 360’s Live subscriptions were abnormally high and this set it at a disadvantage because PlayStation had started offering a free online experience.

Microsoft had to redesign the 360’s hardware a number of times and released several peripherals like the wireless controller and headset, and one of the biggest hits; the Kinect. The Kinect was a webcam styled peripheral that allowed gamers to operate their consoles with voice commands and gestures. Its the best-selling game was  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The Xbox 360 sold over 84 million units as of June 9, 2014, with an initial release price of $399.

The Xbox 360 had 2  other daughter consoles after it; The Xbox 360 S and E.

Xbox 360 S (2010)

  • CPU/GPU: Custom ATI-designed, combo single chip
  • Memory: 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB HDD
  • Optical Drive: DVD
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.2a in/out
  • Network: 802.11b/g/n, Fast Ethernet
  • Audio: 5.1 Channel Surround Sound

On June 14, 2010, Microsoft released a slimmer, lighter and upgraded version of the Xbox 360. The S model had a more powerful processor to reduce the hardware issues from its predecessor. The console was replaced with physical power and eject buttons with touch-system and offered HD-DVD drive, Ethernet, WiFi connection and two additional USB ports.

Xbox 360 E (2013)

  • CPU: IBM custom-designed Xenon – 3 cores
  • GPU: ATI Xenos – 10 MB eDRAM
  • Memory: 512 MB GDDR3 RAM
  • Hard Drive: 250 GB HDD 2.5′ SATA
  • Optical Drive: HD DVD
  • Video Output: HDMI, Up to 1080p
  • Network: 802.11b/g/n, Fast Ethernet
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

The 3rd redesign and eventually the last of the Xbox 360 models were released on June 10, 2013. The 360 E was slightly smaller, lighter and quieter than the S model, and it was built for players who were unwilling to spend money for the upcoming Xbox One. The design is similar to the Xbox One console with its inter-cooler design, the black matte color, and the gloss finish.

Xbox One (2013)

  • CPU: AMD 8 Core APU – 1.75 GHz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon GCN architecture, 853 MHz
  • Memory: 8 GB DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 500 GB HDD
  • Optical Drive: Blu-Ray/DVD
  • Video Output: HDMI 1.4 in/out, 4K support
  • Network: Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi 
  • Audio: 7,1 Surround Sound

On November 22 of 2013, Microsoft gave us the next generation of consoles, The Xbox One. Its sales were promoted by Microsoft’s emphasis on the Kinect system and television integration within the built-in apps and voice commands. In June 2015, Microsoft gave the Xbox One backward compatibility with some of the 360’s software using emulation. In 2017’s E3, Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would support titles from the original Xbox. The best selling Xbox One game was Call of Duty: Black Ops III. The Xbox one was also another success selling 39.1 Million units as of March 2018. 

On the 2nd of August, 2016, Microsoft released a modified version of the Xbox One, the S model. It had the high-dynamic-range (HDR) support in the system for TV streaming and not for gaming along with a 4K Blu-ray drive. The console runs the games up-scaled to 4K but it’s not giving the true 4K detailed experience as the Xbox One X does. The console’s GPU received a 70% boost up to 914MHz and hard drive sizes moved up to 1 and 2TB.

Another model of the Xbox One was released on November 7, 2017, called the X model, codenamed the Xbox Scorpio. The Xbox One X was released on November 7 of 2017. This is the first Xbox console that offers a realistic 4K gaming, running on 60 FPS, being capable of delivering six teraflops of performance and still run the same games and software as the already existing Xbox One systems do. 

Overall, Microsoft really outdid themselves with the Xbox. They have grown from a console that no one was expecting to one of the biggest gaming systems on Earth, on par with the likes of Nintendo and PlayStation. With the next generation of consoles just around the corner, we are sure to expect another exciting Xbox console.

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