XBox person playing
Xbox was originally launched in 2001. Since then it has enjoyed several iterations and tremendous success.

Xbox: Everything To Know

Xbox is world-renowned for excellent gameplay and functionality against the other top console system brands Sony Playstation, Nintendo, and PC.

Xbox: specifications

Xbox Series X

CPU: AMD Zen 8-core – 3.8 GHz
GPU: Custom RDNA 2 – 1.825 GHz, 52 CUs, 12 TFLOPS
RAM: 16 GB GDDR6
Hard Drive: 1 TB NVMe SSD
Optical Drive: 4k UHD Blu-ray
Video Output: HDMI 2.1
Network: Wireless 802.11ac, Ethernet

Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound

As of November 10, 2020, Xbox gamers can enjoy their favorite titles at 4k resolutions running at 120 frames-per-second. This console is even ready to play at 8k resolution with 60 frames-per-second. The Series X is a true dedicated gaming PC. It may still run the Xbox OS, but it has the hardware components to compete and overperform PCs of the same price.

This console has had a hard time staying on the shelves. If you’re looking to purchase one, you’ll need to take advantage of every online retailer and brick-and-mortar option to find available supplies.

Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S is meant to be a lower-cost option for gaming that relies on a completely digital library. That means it doesn’t have a disc drive. Microsoft has not released the specifications of the Series S. They do claim that it offers the same gaming experience as the Series X at a lower resolution.

The Series S is the smallest Xbox console to date. This is largely due to its entirely digital nature. It won’t take up much room but no longer can act as a 4k Blu-ray player. It can still stream 4k content from web services.

Where to Buy an Xbox

In 2021, there are a few different ways to get your hands on either the Xbox Series S or Series X.

Brick and Mortar Retail

The most traditional way to get anything is right from the showroom floor. You can get a hold of one of these consoles from brick and mortar stores in your city. Large retailers like Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, and others often carry electronics. It is important to note that the availability of the newest Xbox consoles will depend on your location and regional stock.

Online Retailers

There’s always the modern method to purchase a modern console. Online retailers offer the same deals brick and mortar stores do, but all from the comfort of your home. Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, eBay, and many more websites offer a way to purchase the newest Xbox console online and have it shipped directly to your door. Remember that you’ll have to wait longer to get a hold of your console this way.

Click here to get the Xbox Series S or Series X on amazon.com.

Microsoft

The third option is to skip the third-party stores and buy directly from the manufacturer. Microsoft doesn’t have many brick-and-mortar locations but it does offer sales and purchase plans through its website. This won’t function much differently from purchasing from other online retailers. It will result in better support from Microsoft when dealing with transaction issues.

Stream Games

If you have a strong internet connection, the newest way to play Xbox games might be the way for you. Xbox Game Pass allows subscribers to stream games directly to Android and Windows devices. This means that you won’t even have to purchase an Xbox to get access to over 100 titles in the Xbox game library. Just pick up a mobile controller and find a game you want to play on the Game Pass cloud streaming list.

The History of the Xbox: What to know

Microsoft launched the first Xbox console system in 2001. After the company had spent a great effort into a digital library known as DirectX, they wanted to showcase what the software could do with a dedicated gaming system named the DirectX Box, or Xbox for short. On the same day, November 15, 2001, Bungie studios launched the legendary Halo franchise alongside the system.

The Xbox was the first console to be developed by an American company since the retirement of the Atari Jaguar in 1996. The console was released into direct competition with Sony’s Playstation 2, Sega’s Dreamcast, and Nintendo’s Gamecube in what is considered to be the “golden era” of gaming.

The original team of developers for Xbox was Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley, Otto Berkes, and Ted Hase. The team pitched the idea to Bill Gates back in 1998 as they saw the trend of console systems gaining steam.

The original design had the console named the DirectX Box. It was also meant to run Windows 2000. The team saw the product as a way to showcase a specific-use case personal computer but also wanted to make it easy for Windows developers to create software for the console platform. The hardware itself was set up to be twice as powerful as the most popular console they intended to compete with, the Playstation 2.

Two years after the initial pitch, Bill Gates went public with Microsoft’s development of a gaming console at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2000. The show of gameplay and console features was such a step ahead at the time that many viewers were skeptical of the announcement. A few months later, Microsoft continued its public announcement at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). This is where the company made contact with Bungie. Shortly after, Microsoft purchased the studio for $30 million.

At the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show, Bill Gates brought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson onstage for their Las Vegas console reveal. The console was set to release on November 15, 2001, with the first game in the Halo franchise, Halo: Combat Evolved, at only $299 for the console alone.

A year after its release, Xbox gained a new feature. While Atari was the first brand to feature an online play mode, Dreamcast was the first to implement the feature in the sixth generation of console history. Microsoft saw the potential of online gaming and was already familiar with it concerning their Windows platform. In November 2002, Microsoft switched on Xbox Live.

Once the online gameplay service was live, Xbox was truly born.

Xbox Versions: Each Edition

Aside from the special collector’s editions of Xbox consoles, there are only nine different models that have taken the Xbox name in gaming history. Throughout its lifetime, Microsoft has sought to keep the brand relevant to the gaming industry and even looks to develop products and services geared toward the future.

Xbox Original

CPU: Intel Pentium III – 733 MHz
GPU: NVIDIA NV2A – 233 MHz
RAM: 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

The original Xbox console was released on November 15th, 2001. It was released to the Japanese market on February 22, 2002, and to the European and Australian audience on March 14, 2002. Classic and revolutionary titles gave the Xbox the library it needed to take a good market share and survive until the release of its successor.

Games like Halo: Combat Evolved, Fable, Forza, Brothers in Arms, Jade Empire, Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath, The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind, Crimson Skies, Splinter Cell, Dead or Alive, and many many more defined the original Xbox experience.

The original Xbox console was discontinued in 2005. It was not the end of the Xbox in gaming history, but only the transition to a new era.

XBox original
Microsoft’s original Xbox console powered on, with a Controller S sitting in front. It took Microsoft just 20 months to launch the Xbox.

Xbox 360

CPU: Microsoft XCPU (Xenon), 3 cores – 500 MHz
GPU: R500, Xenos chip by ATI – 500 MHz
RAM: 512 MB GDDR3 RAM
Hard Drive: 250 GB HDD
Optical Drive: 12x DVD
Video Output: HDMI 1.2a
Network: Ethernet, IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wifi

Audio: Multichannel 5.1 Surround Sound

On November 22, 2005, Microsoft released the second iteration of the Xbox console family. The Xbox 360 was a slimmer product that boasted more entertainment features and the new robust Xbox Live Gold. Online gameplay was streamlined even further to support the growing first-person shooter community. The Xbox 360 introduced avatars, better friends list functionality, music streaming, and the ability to purchase the Kinect peripheral.

The difference in gameplay quality between the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 was large enough that it pushed Sony to create a device that can truly compete, the Playstation 3.

The era of the Xbox 360 saw the launch of long-running franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War, and Red Dead Revolver. It was the first console to make internal storage easily accessible and replaceable. While there were some developmental bugs along the way, the “red ring of death”, the Xbox 360 continued console sales until April 20, 2016, long after the release of its successor, the Xbox One.

2010 Xbox 360 S Specs

CPU/GPU: Custom ATI-designed, combo single chip
RAM: 512 MB DDR3
Hard Drive: 250 GB HDD
Optical Drive: DVD
Video Output: HDMI 1.2a
Network: 802.11 b/g/n, Fast Ethernet

Audio: 5.1 Channel Surround Sound

2013 Xbox 360 E Specs

CPU: IBM custom-designed Xenon – 3 cores
GPU: ATI Xenos – 10 MB eDRAM
RAM: 512 MB GDDR3
Hard Drive: 250 HDD
Optical Drive: HD DVD
Video Output: HDMI up to 1080p
Network: 802.11 b/g/n, Ethernet

Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound

Xbox 360
A White Xbox 360 live console computer game by Microsoft, with a white joystick controller. This was the first console to make internal storage easily accessible and replaceable.

Xbox One

CPU: AMD 8 Core APU – 1.75 GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon GCN architecture, 853 MHz
RAM: 8 GB DDR3
Hard Drive: 500 GB HDD
Optical Drive: Blu-Ray/DVD
Video Output: HDMI 1.4, 4k support
Network: Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi

Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound

Eight years after the release of the Xbox 360, Microsoft released the next console in its lineup, the Xbox One. The Xbox 360 was still running well and selling, but game software was starting to outpace what the hardware was capable of handling. Microsoft knew it couldn’t rely on the 360 to keep up much longer. The Xbox One continued to be compatible with the Kinect, a motion control camera that Microsoft believed would become incredibly popular. It was once again a more powerful iteration of the Xbox console.

The Xbox One closed the gap between consoles and the computers of 2013. The Xbox 360 only had 512 MB of RAM and capped out at 60 GB for storage. The Xbox One came with 8 GB of RAM and either 500 GB or 1 TB of hard drive space. The console itself was much larger than the Xbox 360 and weighed an extra pound and a half. The hardware changes brought home console gaming from 720p to 1080p.

The increased GPU and CPU power allowed the Xbox One to run the increasing software demands of games like Crysis, Grand Theft Auto V, Warframe, Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, Deadrising 3, and many more well-known titles.

Microsoft quietly stopped production of the Xbox One on the advent of the Xbox One X.

Xbox One S

CPU: AMD 8-core APU
GPU: AMD Radeon – 914 MHz
RAM: 8 GB DDR3
Hard Drive: 1 TB HDD
Optical Drive: UHD Blu-ray, DVD
Video Output: HDMI 2.0, 4K
Network: WiFi 802.11n, Ethernet

Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound

On August 2, 2016, the Xbox One S came to market. This redesign was 40% smaller than the hefty Xbox One unit. Microsoft was still able to pack more power into the device. The One X supports 1080p gameplay but 4k Blu-ray movies. This console was created to refine the Xbox One into something more aesthetically appealing that fit in a smaller space. It was also the first Xbox console to come with updated Bluetooth controllers.

Xbox One X

CPU: AMD 8-core APU – 2.3 GHz
GPU: AMD Radeon GCN architecture – 1.172 GHz
RAM: 12 GB DDR5
Hard Drive: 2 TB HDD
Optical Drive: UHD Blur-ray, DVD
Video Output: HDMI 2.0b, 4k
Network: 802.11n IEEE WiFi, Ethernet

Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound

On November 7, 2017, Microsoft released a beefier model of the Xbox One S. The Xbox One X was meant to be a higher quality model of the Xbox One S with access to an identical library of games but playable in 4K resolutions.

The Xbox One X is no longer in production at Microsoft due to the increased production of the Series S and Series X, but the Xbox One X can still be purchased online.

Xbox One
The Xbox One X is one of the most powerful generation video gaming consoles.

Xbox Series X

CPU: AMD Zen 8-core – 3.8 GHz
GPU: Custom RDNA 2 – 1.825 GHz, 52 CUs, 12 TFLOPS
RAM: 16 GB GDDR6
Hard Drive: 1 TB NVMe SSD
Optical Drive: 4k UHD Blu-ray
Video Output: HDMI 2.1
Network: Wireless 802.11ac, Ethernet

Audio: 7.1 Surround Sound

As of November 10, 2020, Xbox gamers can enjoy their favorite titles at 4k resolutions running at 120 frames-per-second. This console is even ready to play at 8k resolution with 60 frames-per-second. The Series X is a true dedicated gaming PC. It may still run the Xbox OS, but it has the hardware components to compete and overperform PCs of the same price.

This console has had a hard time staying on the shelves. If you’re looking to purchase one, you’ll need to take advantage of every online retailer and brick-and-mortar option to find available supplies.

Click here to get the Xbox Series X on amazon.com.

Xbox Series X
Microsoft’s next-gen gaming consoles are the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S and can play video games up to 120fps.

Xbox Series S

The Xbox Series S is meant to be a lower-cost option for gaming that relies on a completely digital library. That means it doesn’t have a disc drive. Microsoft has not released the specifications of the Series S. They do claim that it offers the same gaming experience as the Series X at a lower resolution.

The Series S is the smallest Xbox console to date. This is largely due to its entirely digital nature. It won’t take up much room but no longer can act as a 4k Blu-ray player. It can still stream 4k content from web services.

Click here to get the Xbox Series S on amazon.com.

Xbox Live to Gold to Game Pass

Xbox has always been the most innovative when it comes to online support and features. Originally, this was due to the competition lacking in online options such as the original Xbox compared to the Playstation 2. Over time, online gameplay functionality became essential to stay on top of the market.

Xbox Gold
An Xbox One S gamepad, Xbox One S game console, game discs, and Xbox live gold card laying on a table. The Xbox Gold gives better quality gaming services like chat rooms, online gameplay, and more!

Xbox Live

The first iteration of the Xbox online service was Xbox Live. It launched in 2002 to support online play for games like Halo and Mechwarrior.

Xbox Gold

Xbox Gold was born after the Xbox 360 to accommodate better quality online gaming services like community management, chat rooms, friends lists, online gameplay, and internet access. Gold is the paid edition, while Silver was the free version. After the release of the Xbox One, the online service became known only as Xbox Gold.

Xbox Game Pass

In another giant change, Microsoft has moved to a new online service named Game Pass. It acts as an Xbox Gold subscription and also a game streaming subscription. Game Pass allows subscribers to browse over a hundred titles and either install them remotely to their consoles or play them on their mobile devices through cloud streaming.

Xbox – Complete History of the Xbox FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

When did the Xbox come out?

The Xbox brand was originally released on November 15, 2001.

How many different versions of Xbox are there?

Excluding collectors editions, there have been nine different models.

What was the Xbox first called?

The original name given by the developers was DirectX Box. However, they decided to shorten the name to Xbox to be catchier.

Who created the Xbox?

A small team of developers created Xbox at Microsoft.

What was the original price of the Xbox?

The Xbox console was originally released at $299.

Sources
  1. Game Spot, Available here: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/xbox-series-x-s-is-fastest-selling-xbox-ever-despite-shortages-hardware-sales-up-172/1100-6494491/
  2. Microsoft, Available here: https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2014/06/09/events-e3-2014-recap/
  3. Forbes, Available here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2020/01/30/the-nintendo-switch-may-have-just-outsold-the-xbox-one-with-a-35-year-late-start/?sh=5141114e57e5
  4. Ampere Analysis, Available here: https://www.ampereanalysis.com/insight/sony-banks-on-playstation-studios-to-deliver-another-winning-console-generation
  5. Ampere Analysis, Available here: https://www.ampereanalysis.com/insight/sony-banks-on-playstation-studios-to-deliver-another-winning-console-generation
  6. Games Radar, Available here: https://www.gamesradar.com/best-xbox-games-all-time/2/