The wait is almost over. There’s just over a month until gamers can get our hands on the latest hardware from Microsoft.
The fourth-generation Xbox console, the Xbox Series X, launches in Australia on November 10.
Let’s take a look back at how the Xbox has evolved over the last 19 years.
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XBOX – 2002
Bill Gates revealed Microsoft were working on a video game console during an interview in 1999, but official confirmation on the console didn’t come until March 2000, where Gates showed off an Xbox prototype during a keynote at the Game Developers Conference.
Less than a year later the world would get its first official look at the Xbox.
Gates unveiled the console at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with help from The Rock (Dwayne Johnson).
At launch the Xbox was priced at $299 USD, about $615 Australian dollars today.
The console cost Microsoft about $425 to manufacture, meaning Microsoft would lose out on $125 for every system sold.
The console launched with its flagship title Halo: Combat Evolved, the beginning of a franchise that would go on to sell 60 million copies and make over USD$5 billion today.
Halo 2 was the most successful Xbox game, selling more than 6 million copies alone.
The original Xbox, as it’s now known, sold over 24 million units. It was discontinued in North America in March 2007.
XBOX LIVE – 2002
Microsoft successfully brought online gaming to home consoles under the banner of Xbox LIVE.
The service was fully revealed at E3 in 2002 and was a big step ahead of its closest competitor, the PS2, which was shipped without network capabilities.
Dozens of Live titles were released in the early stages, just two years after its release Xbox LIVE had over a million users.
Due to lack of accessible broadband across the US, EU and Australia, it was slow to take off.
It wasn’t until the release of the Xbox 360 when Microsoft’s online service really took flight, with home broadband finally becoming the norm in Australia.
It introduced the Gamertag, which to this day, resonates with Xbox and console gamers.
It’s a sense of identity within the gaming community.
The original Xbox LIVE service was shut down in April 2010. An upgraded version is what essentially powers Xbox consoles today, with users now streaming to live audiences, downloading games in minutes and playing games with online multiplayer.
There’s currently over 90 million Xbox Live subscribers.
XBOX 360 – 2006
The Xbox 360 was announced on May 12, 2005 with an MTV special titled, MTV Presents Xbox: The Next Generation Revealed.
The event was hosted by Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood and included a live performance by The Killers.
Incredibly, Microsoft started manufacturing the console just 69 days before it’s launch, this delayed release in Australia by three months, finally hitting stores on March 2, 2006.
The Call of Duty franchise on the console sold over 66 million copies, but the top-selling game for the 360 is Kinect Adventures, mainly due to it coming with the Kinect camera and console bundle.
A controversial defection plagued many Xbox 360 users, it was known as, ‘The Red Ring of Death’.
To combat this, Microsoft repaired and extended the console’s warranty a further three years for those affected.
A beefed up version of Xbox 360 was released in April 2007, Xbox 360 Elite. The upgraded console included 120GB HDD and came with a matte black finish.
The Xbox 360 sold over a million units in Australia in the first 5 years and sold over 84 million units worldwide. It was discontinued in April 2016.
XBOX ONE – 2013
The Xbox One was announced on May 21, 2013 and released later that year on November 22.
It was Microsoft’s first Blu-ray capable console, with the tech giant heavy on its home entertainment features.
Grand Theft Auto V and the Call of Duty games top the list of highest-selling titles on the Xbox One. In 2014 Microsoft purchased Mojang Studios, creators of Minecraft, for a whopping USD$2.5 billion. The Xbox edition of Minecraft went on to sell over 5 million copies and counting.
It was the first console by Microsoft to enter the Chinese market, the console went on sale in China in September 2014.
The Xbox One sold an estimated 50 million consoles, Microsoft stopped officially releasing their sales figures in 2014. It’s still available for purchase today
An upgraded version of the console was released in November 2017; the Xbox One X.
The Xbox One X is essentially the Xbox One and a half, it was a huge leap forward for the console, offering 4K support, upgraded CPU and memory.
XBOX SERIES X – 2020
The Xbox Series X is the fourth-generation Xbox from Microsoft, announced on December 12, 2019.
As well as the Series X, Microsoft are also launching the Series S, a smaller digital-only console. The specs for the Xbox Series S are unchanged, with the main differences being the size and price. The Series S only comes with half the storage (512GB SSD), but offers SSD storage expansions.
The Series X doesn’t have any notable exclusive titles on launch, but gamers will be able to play Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion and Destiny 2: Beyond Light on day one.
Microsoft has also made the entire Xbox Games Pass library Xbox Series X compatible, with EA Play included in the service from November 10.
Microsoft were hopeful Halo Infinite would be ready for launch but after showcasing the game earlier this year during the Xbox Game Studios event, they were forced to concede the game wouldn’t be ready.
Microsoft and 343 Studios made the tough decision to delay the title until 2021.
Microsoft’s recent purchase of Zenimax (Bethesda) is a sign of big things to come. The sale of the game publisher cost Microsoft over $10 billion dollars.
The scale of this deal is phenomenal — Microsoft paid more for this company than Disney did for Star Wars.
How the PlayStation has evolved over the past 25 years
The deal could mean the next Elder Scrolls, Fallout and Doom games would be exclusive to Microsoft and the Xbox Series X.