When anyone first sees the word Xbox, what's the first thing in mind? Gaming consoles, right-on! Microsoft first unveiled the Xbox brand at the end of 2001 with their first gaming console, the original Xbox.
Xbox has come a long way since their first release, and now it covers a lot of different products and services under the name such as media streaming to your TV, and also as an online gateway for multiplayer games called Xbox Live which went online a year after the original Xbox's release.
Up until now, the Xbox has had three different consoles: The Xbox, the Xbox 360, and the Xbox One (the current console).
Here's a little fun piece of information for your knowledge: The name Xbox comes from Microsoft's very own DirectX API (application programming interfaces) which is commonly used in processing gaming tasks on a device that runs Microsoft's own software. When the Xbox was thought up, they wanted to make a literal 'DirectX Box' - straight up for gaming; which then for the better has now become the Xbox brand that we are all familiar with.
The OG, the big bro, the papa, the original Microsoft Xbox video games console.
First launched on November 15th, 2001, the original Xbox marked the start of the entry of Microsoft into the world of gaming consoles. It had a few competitors at that time when it was launched into the market. It took games by either digital downloads or hard copy DVDs and CDs. It sold over 24 million units throughout its entire lifespan.
A year later on, Xbox would launch Xbox live, an online service and portal that enabled multiplayer gaming through the internet - but it was subscription based until today.
The original Xbox controller.
There were actually two different controllers released when the Xbox launched. One of which was nicknamed the Duke for its humongous size; and then they had the controller 'S', which was smaller and lighter as it was made for smaller hands - but as it turns out, the controller S was more popular as it was more comfortable and easier to hold. The controller S was then later used as the standard controlled bundled in for all Xbox sets sold in stores. The Xbox controllers also featured an easy-breakaway cable (quite an idea, you'll have to admit); in the event anyone trips the cables, the cable would just easily detach to protect the controller and the console from dropping to any impending doom - you certainly didn't want your console breaking while you're playing your video games. That's some very thoughtful feature by Microsoft there!
The Xbox 360 - no, they didn't go full circle - they went forward!
The Xbox 360 was a definite upgrade from the original Xbox, featuring more advanced and powerful hardware for better performance and graphics.
Like the original Xbox, the Xbox 360 also comes with the online service, Xbox Live - and very much like the console itself, Xbox Live was also upgraded and expanded. Gamers could use the service - apart from playing online multiplayer - to further stream music, videos, and films through purchase with the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services in Xbox Live respectively.
The Xbox 360 Controller & Kinect
The Xbox 360 controller was also an improvement over the previous generation controllers - especially in ergonomics, it was much more comfortable to play with. It was also available in wired and wireless versions, and also compatible with other Microsoft computer operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Microsoft also put out the Kinect alongside the Xbox 360. The Kinect is a type of motion-sensing device for the Xbox 360 and later the Xbox One. It tracks a user's input based on their movements and their spoken voice and uses that to play Xbox Kinect games.
Xbox One - enter the One.
The current and third Xbox console is the Xbox One. Released in May 2013, it is part of the eight generation of game consoles. The Xbox One emphasized on a holistic approach on the living room media - with features such as possible integration and passing through of live television from a TV box. It was the machine for the living room, doing everything. Like its two predecessors, the Xbox One also has a Xbox Kinect sensor which is an upgrade of the previous Kinect, featuring even better motion and voice tracking. And if you like to share gameplay videos, that capability is built-in to the Xbox One, enabling you to record and then share your videos more conveniently or even just have a live-stream of your game owning other players - and hopefully not a live-stream of you losing, that'd be embarrassing!
The Xbox One Controller
Built almost similarly to the Xbox 360 controller, the Xbox One controller brings avery familiar layout to the hands of gamers, yet bringing an even more ergonomic experience - so your hands don't cramp up while you're playing! One other notable feature that is new to the Xbox One controller is the inclusion of a rumble motor (think vibration motors) in the trigger buttons of the controllers, named 'Impulse Triggers'. The 'Impulse Triggers' would give players more feedback during an action or if they were attacked in game - nothing like feeling a more precise hit than feeling it on the tip of your finger! Later updates to the controller hardware added headphone jacks so that players could directly connect their headsets to the controllers instead of dragging the cable across the room and tripping someone - unless that's something you want to do.
And also, just recently, Microsoft released the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller! It's basically the Xbox One controller, but with more pimped out features such as more sensitive trigger buttons to reduce the travel distance for players to press the keys - giving faster response times. And as it is aptly named, it's targeted towards elite gamers on the Xbox One.
Okay, this is all very interesting, but why Xbox?
The games. The awesome, exclusive, first-party games. The Xbox is home to great series like the ever legendary Halo franchise. This year alone the Xbox One will be seeing great titles like Halo 5: Guardians, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and Forza Motorsport 6. These games are only available exclusively on Xbox - and they are great games.
The backwards compatibility of the Xbox One with Xbox 360 games. Microsoft will be releasing over a hundred Xbox 360 games for backwards compatibility with the Xbox One so you can play even more games. Missed out on an Xbox exclusive from the 360? Now you've got a chance to play it again.
Awesome media capabilities like streaming movies and music through the Xbox Live services. You can even pass through your TV box (like your Astro) into the Xbox One and switch between watching a movie and playing a game within a split second! This makes it more convenient.
The video games themselves
Just to tempt you even more, here are some of the top selling video games on the Xbox One now. There's definitely something for everyone here, including those sweet exclusive video games.
- Far Cry 4
- Forza Horizon 2
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
- Alien: Isolation
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
If you're feeling up for the game today, do browse the sales shopping gallery for the Xbox games and consoles - and of course also the Xbox Controllers and their accessories such as cases.