It’s been 10 years since the official release of the Xbox in North America. When it came out, the console was $299.99 and its debut was hard because it had to compete against the extremely popular PlayStation 2 and the powerful Nintendo GameCube, but soon, it was pretty apparent that even though those two consoles had some great qualities, the Xbox was the most technically proficient gaming platform of its generation. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s console never sold well when compared to its competition and soon enough the PlayStation 2 ended up conquering the American and European markets.
Still, the Xbox was a resounding success because it established a strong basis that allowed the development of the Xbox 360, the Xbox’s successor. Something quite interesting was that apart from playing video games the platform had additional functionalities like the possibility of playing DVDs, CDs and it even allowed to download certain content. Getting the latest downloadable content is something quite effortless these days and we probably take it for granted, but the Xbox was one of the first consoles that managed to prove that this feature was going to revolutionize the industry. And it definitely did.
The console also featured an 8 GB hard drive that had some great advantages, mainly because it allowed users to save their game progress directly into the hard drive instead of having to get one of those expensive and woefully inadequate memory cards. In addition, certain games (like Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City) allowed users to listen to the music that was previously saved on the hard drive.
Then we have the controller, some people loved it and some others hated it, but one thing’s for sure: its design was great for first-person shooters. The console pretty much popularized the genre once again, demonstrating that playing first-person shooters with a controller not only was possible, but also was an eminently satisfying experience. It should be noted that previous to that, the Nintendo 64 had seen the release of many popular titles like GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark which had some pretty intuitive controls, but the Xbox revitalized the genre once again with the inclusion of two analog sticks.
Furthermore, the Xbox Live service needs to be mentioned as even though when it first appeared it was not as successful as it is today, it definitely demonstrated that people were willing to subscribe to a service that allowed them to play certain online games. Of course, Xbox Live was mainly used for games like Halo and Halo 2, but it soon expanded to other genres and it slowly became what it is today.
Moreover, the life cycle of the Xbox was quite short when compared to other contemporary consoles. But four years were more than enough to create a strong audience that wanted something different. Eventually, the Xbox 360 came out, changing the way in which we experience games. Although the launch was somewhat obscured by many problems like the unequal supply-demand and the red ring of death issue, many people still preferred this console to the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. Undoubtedly, all this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the original Xbox.
Top 5 Xbox games:
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Halo 2
- Panzer Dragoon Orta
- Conquer: Live & Reloaded
- Ninja Gaiden (or the updated version: Ninja Gaiden Black)