The history of the first home video game console of the Xbox is a long one. The journey was filled with difficulties, but the original Xbox is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. And here’s its path starting from the 2000s and leading up to 2022.
The original Xbox was Microsoft’s first step into the world of gaming. Their first installment in the gaming territory launched in November 2001. With Microsoft worrying about the gaming consoles taking over PCs, the tech giant stepped into the gaming console market. While the project was overwhelmed with doubts regarding its name, potential success, Sony‘s power on the market, and more. Xbox now stands as a titan of the gaming industry.
And of course, the process includes many triumphs and great tales alongside failures and setbacks. Now, let’s dive into the story of the original Xbox, the gaming console that started it all.
The first and original Xbox console launched in 2001
Microsoft announced its first entry into the video game console market in March 2000. Though the idea of developing a gaming console was pitched to Bill Gates back in 1998.
With Sony’s growing power in the console market, Microsoft wanted to come up with a console that could harness the power of a PC. Before actually getting into the console business, the tech giant had already released games like Age of Mythology, Age of Empires, and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The brain team behind the project came up with many names. Even though they decided on the name Xbox with massive doubts, the initial idea was actually DirectX Box. Fortunately, they agreed on Xbox. After two years, Bill Gates announced Microsoft’s first-ever home video game console in 2000. And a year after that, we finally laid eyes on the final design of the original Xbox.
Bill Gates and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson presented the design of the console Consumer Electronics Expo that took place in June 2001. Alongside presenting the console’s design, Gates also announced the release date of the company’s first foray into the gaming console territory.
After months of the showcase in the expo, the console that started it all; the original Xbox, made its launch in November 2001.
In two years after its initial debut, Xbox made its way to North America, Australia, Europe, and finally Japan in 2002. As one of the most powerful consoles in the sixth generation, Xbox also represented the American existence in the market as well.
Before Microsoft’s first entry, the two competitors in the industry were PlayStation 2 from Sony and GameCube from Nintendo.
Sold 1.5 million units in 2001
As we mentioned earlier, the first Xbox launched in November 2001. While there were only two months before the year ended, the original Xbox sold more than 1.5 million units, outselling Gamecube and Sega Dreamcast.
Xbox‘s high selling numbers in North America by Halo: Combat Evolved. Bungie’s FPS did not only change the fate of shooter games in consoles, but it also boosted the sales of the original Xbox. By the end of 2006, Xbox sold more than 24 million units worldwide.
Xbox vs PlayStation 2
The original Xbox was the most powerful video game console when it launched. Also, Microsoft‘s expertise in hardware, the gaming console’s tech specs easily made it the better choice. This is why they wanted Dwayne Johnson to talk about the console’s “drive and power.”
- The original Xbox came with Intel Pentium III 733 MHZ processor. PlayStation 2, on the other hand, was equipped with an Emotion Engine, which had less processing power.
- Xbox also had a built-in hard disk. This feature did only make it a first in the gaming console market, but it also gave the console an upper hand against PlayStation 2. Sony’s entry to sixth-generation had removable memory cards instead.
- With Xbox’s Ethernet port, Windows was able to create an online gaming ecosystem through Xbox Live. This did not only change the gaming world, but it also offered a social platform for players to socialize.
The first generation Xbox cost Microsoft a whopping $5 to $7 billion dollars before it was discontinued in North America in 2009. Microsoft halted its sales in Japan even before as the console’s game library was not suitable for Japanese audiences.
The retail price of the console was $300 but it cost Microsoft $425 to manufacture a single unit. So the original Xbox actually caused a massive financial loss for Microsoft.
That being said, with the power of Xbox Live, the video game console became a powerful alternative in the market. Even though Microsoft lost billions of dollars, it did bring a legend into life.
The king is ‘not’ dead, long live the king.
Xbox 360 finally made its launch in November 2005. As the second generation gaming console of Xbox, the successor was the competitor of Wii and PlayStation 3.
Even though the seventh generation of video game consoles was competing, most players preferred the original Xbox.