Xbox is X

Today is the 10th anniversary of the release of the original Xbox. While there are many jokes about the enormous controllers going around, I never got the hate. Big? Sure. Comfortable? Hell, yes. Especially after a solid day of gaming. It was clear off the bat that MS seemed much more interested in ergonomics than Sony ever did.

It’s weird to think that the original Xbox lasted four years, and here we are on year six of Xbox 360, and no replacement is firmly in sight.

And my original Xbox is sitting in a box in the garage. It still, works, too! (Unlike my launch 360).

I just bought a new Xbox 360 today, taking advantage of a holiday bundle deal at Best Buy ($229 CDN for the 250 gig Xbox 360 plus Halo Reach, Fable III and three months free Xbox Live). Another guy was in line with me buying the same system.

Microsoft took a beating with the original system, but with the slow fading of the operating system/office application market it turned out to be a far-sighted move on their part. The 360 is now consistently the market leader even with six years under its belt.

Who knew Microsoft would dominate the gaming console market, eh?

I was pretty sure if MS could keep the stability of the console up it would win out, was actually worried about survival of -any- pc gaming. Here we are 10 years later.

I still feel like they killed the original Xbox just as it was really hitting its stride. But I guess it’s done a lot to cement the 360 as top dog.

There’s no doubt the original could have kept going for a few more years, but there are reasons MS killed it dead.

  1. The first Xbox was late to that generation, by which time Sony had already built up an impregnable market share with the PS2. MS wanted to be the first mover in the next generation because if you’re the first one to 10 million units, you win. (Remember the execs saying that over and over again?) If you have the early marketshare, you not only gain mindshare, but you start getting all those critical third-party developers on your side, and they create cool third-party games that make more people want to buy your console, which makes more devs want to make more games for your console.

  2. The original Xbox had been rushed into production, using off-the-shelf PC parts. As a result, it was wide open in terms of security. The 360 was MS’ first console where the engineers really had a chance to design it from the ground-up. Here’s a Google presentation about how damn good the 360’s security is. The 360 is hackable, but when you see the layers of security that MS put down, it’s night and day compared to the original Xbox. There’s a reason why the it took so long to reverse engineer the 360’s security.

  3. MS was losing money on the original. They didn’t own the chips. Intel and Nvidia did. And Nvidia wasn’t doing itself any favors when they clashed over costs. There’s a reason why MS ditched them and worked with ATI for the 360. And, with the 360, MS bought the chip designs, so it owns them. Which means that it can put a bid out to foundries to lower its costs.

I thought Sony dominated the console market (globally). Xbox’s dont exist in Asia.* ^^

*everything is relative, when counting the # of PS’s sold in Asia, Xbox is nonexistant

^^please correct me if I am wrong

I remember all that stuff. I followed it closely. I thought MS would lose to Sony and wouldn’t make it past 6 months (remember the Atari Jaguar?)

I also remember the day Bungie was bought by MS. That feeling of MS supremacy and doom is no longer present today now that we have Apple [strike]and Steve Jobs[/strike] to deal with.

Two great articles from | Dean Takahashi.
The making of XBox part 1
part 2 is the story after the launch to the present

Xbox was indeed still losing money by the end of life because of the use of off the shelf parts instead of custom chips used by Sony and now the 360.

A total failure. Dave Long called it ten years ago.

Happy Birthday XBOX, and more importantly, all the Custom Firmware and addons to it, especially XBOX Media Center. It is a shame that we couldn’t get the same kind of features and abilities with the 360… Imagine how great it would be with a XBMC UI instead of whatever it has now.

At least we have Showtime on the PS3.

I think Seamus Blackley even mentioned that that was part of the plan when they started its development. They were doing it to step into the market so that they could dominate it later.

It was talked about in his interview with Warren Spector during that University of Texas interview series. They don’t seem available on the university’s website anymore, so you can torrent it here.

I have my original Xbox still hooked up to the TV. When it’s on you can hear it from across the room. And I don’t mean the room it’s in.

I still have my OG xbox- it’s in my closet. I had to explain what it was to some peeps who were over for boardgame night a few weeks ago. And also the reason that I still have it around: I want to build an arcade cabinet (pod) for it and Steel Battalion someday.

You can imagine the reaction. :(

The original Xbox 360 is very loud too. One of the nice advantages of the S model is how quiet it is in comparison.

My wife has a similar reaction whenever she comes across my Steel Battalion stuff in the basement.

How do you celebrate a birthday? With a free 360 Avatar prop, of course!

My first experience with Xbox is somewhere inbetween embarrassing and probably slightly indicative of something, although I’m not sure what.

I never owned one myself, but around the weekend of it’s release here in the UK I had a friend that went and bought one, and I went around to his house to ooh and aah over the thing as teenagers do. One of the first things my friend showed me was the safety mechanism on the wires that were supposed to stop accidental pulling of the console, which he demonstrated by pulling them apart with the cable in his hands next to me. Following this, he then plugged the controller in and handed the pad to me, urging me to give it a try.

I’m not a very strong person, but I can be incredibly clumsy. The Xbox was on a slightly raised shelf, I pulled back rather awkwardly on the cable and the Xbox was promptly dislocated from the shelf and hit the floor with a crash. Even more worryingly, there were a few DVD both in and out of cases on the floor right where the console landed, which were destroyed upon impact from the console, crushed into many many pieces. The Xbox itself was completely unharmed and ran fine quite happily after the event but I did ended up spending about £15 replacing the destroyed DVDs.

I never did end up getting an original Xbox myself.

I thought the Xbox had breakaway cables to prevent that from happening?

You may want to read the post again, Omnisica. :)

I never had the opportunity to test the breakaway cables on the Xbox but always imagined the scenario The B recalls as being a likely result of any actual instance of them being stressed.