It seems strange to think that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is five years old this week having launched in the US and Canada on November 22, 2005. The 360 came to market only four years after the original Xbox marked Microsoft’s first foray into the console market.
At the time the console market was the preserve of Sony and Nintendo but by the time the Xbox 360 came around, Microsoft had got the jump on its rivals who wouldn’t release the PlayStation 3 and Wii respectively for a further 12months or more. We here in the UK had to wait until December 2 to get our hands on the 360.
Speaking in his blog this week, Xbox Live boss Stephen Toulouse revealed the release of the updated Xbox-model was a surprise to him. “When the Xbox 360 was announced, I was just as surprised as anyone else. The original Xbox was only four years old and Xbox LIVE was just starting to hit its stride.”
He added: “Sure I had a PS2 and a Gamecube as well, but I really thought we’d put out a good gaming machine with the Xbox and was surprised we would “kill” it so quickly in favor of a new one. But as more and more information came out about it, the more excited I got over it.”
The 360 launched with 13 titles here in Europe including Call of Duty 2, which sold over a million copies in 2005. Some of the more successful launch titles were Project Gotham Racing 3 and the mighty Oblivion. There are now almost 800 titles available for the Xbox 360, though a lot of these are only available in the US or Asia and not in Europe. One of the most innovative aspects of the Xbox 360 was the introduction of wireless controllers, an idea which was subsequently copied by the PlayStation 3 and the Wii.
At launch the Xbox 360 was available in the Core and Pro packages and since then has seen a number of different configurations including Arcade, Elite, Super Elite and the current slimmed-down Xbox 360 250GB. There have also been a number of special editions of the Xbox 360 including two Halo editions, a Simpsons edition and a Resident Evil edition.
With the launch of the Kinect earlier this month it seems as if the Xbox will be here for a number of years to come, with devices like the Kinect giving it a new lease of life. So Happy Birthday Xbox 360 and here's to the next five years.