Xbox: Wikis


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Microsoft XBOX.svg
Xbox console transparent.png
Manufacturer Microsoft
Product family Xbox
Type Video game console
Generation Sixth generation
Retail availability NA November 15, 2001
JP February 22, 2002
PAL March 14, 2002
Discontinued JP 2005
NA 2006
EU 2006
Units sold 24+ million (as of May 10, 2006)[1]
Media DVD, CD
Operating system Custom (Based on Windows NT architecture and Windows XP (through Xbox LIVE))
CPU Custom 733 MHz Intel Pentium III "Coppermine-based" processor
Storage capacity 8 or 10 GB internal Hard Drive (both formatted to 8 GB), 8 MB memory card
Memory 64 MB of DDR SDRAM @ 200 MHz
Graphics 233 MHz nVidia NV2A
Controller input 4x Xbox controller ports (propriatary USB interface)
Connectivity 100Mbit Ethernet
Online services Xbox Live
Best-selling game Halo 2, 8 million (as of May 9, 2006)[2][3]
Successor Xbox 360

The Xbox (name derived from "DirectX box"[4]) is a video game console produced by Microsoft. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market, and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast, and Nintendo's GameCube. The integrated Xbox Live service allowed players to compete online until April 2010[5].

The Xbox was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe. It is the predecessor to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. It was discontinued in late 2006, although the final Xbox game (Madden NFL 09) was released in August 2008. Support for out-of-warranty Xbox consoles was discontinued on March 2, 2009; any in-warranty repair now needed will not be undertaken and faulty consoles will replaced with an Xbox 360 instead.



The console was Microsoft's first product that ventured into the video game console market, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Dreamcast console. The Xbox first edition was initially developed by a small Microsoft team that included game developer Seamus Blackley. Microsoft repeatedly delayed the console, which was first mentioned in late 1999 during interviews with then-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. Gates stated that a gaming/multimedia device was essential for multimedia convergence in the new times, confirmed by Microsoft with a press release.[6] When Bill Gates unveiled the Xbox at the Game Developers Conference in 2000, audiences were dazzled by the console's technology. At the time of Gates' announcement, Sega's Dreamcast was diminishing and Sony's PlayStation 2 was just hitting the streets in Japan.[7]

Concentrating on making a big splash in Japan, Microsoft delayed its European launch, though Europe later proved to be the more receptive market.[7] Two of the original members of the Xbox team, Seamus Blackley and Kevin Bachus, left the company early on. The other founding members, Otto Berkes and Ted Hase, are still with Microsoft, but no longer working on the Xbox project.

Some of Microsoft's plans proved effective. In preparation for its launch, Microsoft acquired Bungie and used Halo: Combat Evolved as its launch title. At the time, Goldeneye 007, for Nintendo 64, had been one of the few hit FPS games to appear on a console, some of other ones being Perfect Dark and Medal of Honor. The Bungie acquisition proved itself, giving Microsoft a good application to drive its sales.[7] In 2002, Microsoft overtook Nintendo to capture the second place slot in consoles sold in North America.

Popular launch games for the console included Dead or Alive 3, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fuzion Frenzy and Project Gotham Racing.

The name for the Xbox was originally the DirectX box as it came from a group of Microsoft DirectX developers, but later changed to Xbox after focus testing. The marketing team apparently "created this whole, long list of better names for the machine", former Microsoft VP of game publishing Ed Fries said in a interview with Gamasutra. [8]

Xbox 360

Nvidia ceased production of the Xbox's GPU in August 2005, which marked the end of Xbox production and the quick release of the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005. The Xbox 360 had superior storage, audio and video capabilities compared to the original Xbox.

When equipped with a removable hard drive add-on, the Xbox 360 supports a limited number of the Xbox's game library through emulation. Emulation adds support for anti-aliasing as well as upscaling of the still standard definition image. These emulators are periodically updated to add compatibility for older games and are available free through Xbox Live or as a file download to be burned to a DVD-R from the Xbox web site. These updates are also available monthly as part of the demo disc that comes with each issue of Official Xbox Magazine. As the architectures are different between Xbox and Xbox 360, software emulation is the only way to have compatibility without including processors from the original Xbox.


Xbox drives

Technical specifications


The Xbox was the first to wield a hard disk drive, used primarily for storing game saves and content downloaded from Xbox Live. This eliminated the need for separate memory cards (although some older consoles, such as the TurboGrafx-CD, Sega CD and Sega Saturn had featured built-in battery backup memory prior to 2001). An Xbox user could rip music from standard audio CDs to the hard drive, and these songs were used for the custom soundtracks in some games.[11]

The Xbox was the first gaming product to feature Dolby Interactive Content-Encoding Technology, which allows real-time Dolby Digital encoding in game consoles. Previous game consoles could only use Dolby Digital 5.1 during non-interactive "cut scene" playback.[12]

The Xbox is based on commodity PC hardware and is much larger and heavier than its contemporaries. This is largely due to a bulky tray-loading DVD-ROM drive and the standard-size 3.5 inch hard drive. The Xbox has also pioneered safety features, such as breakaway cables for the controllers to prevent the console from being pulled from the surface it rests on.

Several internal hardware revisions have been made in an ongoing battle to discourage modding (hackers continually updated modchip designs in an attempt to defeat them), to cut manufacturing costs, and to make the DVD-ROM drive more reliable (some of the early units' drives gave Disc Reading Errors due to the unreliable Thomson DVD-ROM drives used). Later generation units that used the Thomson TGM-600 DVD-ROM drives and the Philips VAD6011 DVD-ROM drives were still vulnerable to failure that rendered the consoles either unable to read newer discs or caused them to halt the console with an error code usually indicating a PIO/DMA identification failure, respectively. These units were not covered under the extended warranty.

In 2002 Microsoft and Nvidia entered arbitration over a dispute on the pricing of Nvidia's chips for the Xbox.[13] Nvidia's filing with the SEC indicated that Microsoft was seeking a US$13 million discount on shipments for NVIDIA's fiscal year 2002. Microsoft alleged violations of the agreement the two companies entered, sought reduced chipset pricing, and sought to ensure that Nvidia fulfill Microsoft's chipset orders without limits on quantity. The matter was privately settled on February 6, 2003.[14]

Launch-era Xbox gaming units were made in Hungary and the controllers made mostly in Indonesia.


The original Duke controller (left) and the Controller S (right).

The Xbox controller features two analog sticks, a pressure sensitive directional pad, two analog triggers, a Back button, a Start button, two accessory slots and six 8-bit analog action buttons (A/Green, B/Red, X/Blue, Y/Yellow, and Black and White buttons.)[15] The standard Xbox controller (also known as the "Duke" controller) was originally the Xbox controller for all territories except Japan. The Duke controller has been criticized for being bulky compared to other video game controllers (it was awarded "Blunder of the Year" by Game Informer in 2001[16] and a Guinness World Record for the biggest controller in Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2008, as well as being ranked the second worst video game controller ever by IGN editor Craig Harris.[17]). The Controller S, a smaller, lighter Xbox controller, was originally the standard Xbox controller only in Japan (codenamed "Akebono"),[18] designed for users with smaller hands.[19][20]

Xbox DVD Remote

The Controller S was released in other territories by popular demand, and eventually replaced the standard controller in the Xbox's retail package, with the larger original controller available as an accessory. An 8 MB removable solid state memory card can be plugged into the controllers, onto which game saves can either be copied from the hard drive when in the Xbox dashboard's memory manager or saved during a game. Most Xbox games can be copied to the memory unit and to another console but some Xbox saves are digitally signed, each console has a unique signing key, and some games (e.g., Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball) will not load saved games signed by a different Xbox, limiting the utility of the memory card. Some game saves can be tagged as uncopyable or simply padded to over 8 MB (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). The signing mechanism has been reverse-engineered by the Xbox hacking community, who have developed tools to modify savegames to work in a different console, though the signing key of the recipient Xbox (the "HDkey") and the ramped-up title key of the game (the "authkey") must be known. It is also possible to save an Xbox Live account on a memory unit, to simplify its use on more than one Xbox. The Xbox includes a standard AV cable which provides composite video and monaural or stereo audio to TVs equipped with RCA inputs. European Xbox's also included an RCA jack to SCART converter block as well as the standard AV cable.


Operating system

The Xbox runs a custom operating system which was once believed to be a modified version of the Windows 2000 kernel.[21] It exposes APIs similar to APIs found in Microsoft Windows, such as DirectX 8.1.

Sandy Duncan, former VP of Xbox in Europe, however states that "the [Xbox] Kernel was based on Windows NT...but that was about 150K of code....". [22] The system software may have been based on the Windows NT architecture that powered Windows 2000; it is not a modified version of either.

The user interface for the Xbox is called the Xbox Dashboard. It features a media player that can be used to play music CDs, rip CDs to the Xbox's built-in hard drive and play music that has been ripped to the hard drive; let users manage game saves, music and downloaded content from Xbox LIVE; and lets Xbox LIVE users sign in and manage their account. the dashboard is only available when the user is not watching a movie or playing a game. It uses many shades of green and black for the user interface, to be consistent with the physical Xbox color scheme. When the Xbox was released in 2001 the LIVE service was not online yet, so the dashboard's LIVE feature was unusable.

Xbox LIVE was released in 2002, but in order to access it users had to buy the Xbox LIVE starter kit containing a headset, a subscription, and supplemental. While the Xbox was still being supported by Microsoft, the Xbox Dashboard was updated via Xbox LIVE several times to reduce cheating and add features.

Xbox Live

Xbox Live logo since 2005

On November 15, 2002, Microsoft launched its Xbox Live online gaming service, allowing subscribers to play online Xbox games with other subscribers around the world and download new content directly to the system's hard drive. The online service works only with a broadband Internet connection. Approximately 250,000 subscribers signed up within two months of Xbox Live's launch.[23] In July, 2004, Microsoft announced that Xbox Live had reached one million subscribers; in July, 2005, membership reached two million, and by July 2007 there were more than 3 million subscribers. By May, 2009, the number had ballooned to 20 million current subscribers.[24] On February 5th, 2010, Marc Whitten posted on gamerscoreblog that Xbox Live support, for the original Xbox games will be discontinued as of April 15th, 2010.[25]


Box cover of Halo 2, Xbox's best selling game

The Xbox launched in North America on November 15, 2001. Its most successful launch game was Halo: Combat Evolved which was praised by critics.[26] Its sequel, Halo 2, is the best-selling first-generation Xbox game worldwide.[3] Although there were several more popular second-party launch titles. including NFL Fever 2002,[27] Project Gotham Racing,[28] and Dead or Alive 3,[29] the early public reputation of the Xbox was damaged by the failure of Azurik: Rise of Perathia and other games designed and marketed by Microsoft.[30]

Although the console gained strong third party support from its inception, many early Xbox games did not fully use its powerful hardware, with few additional features or graphical improvements to distinguish them from the PS2 version, thus negating one of the Xbox's main selling points. Sony countered the Xbox for a short time by temporarily securing PlayStation 2 exclusives for highly anticipated games such as the Grand Theft Auto series and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

In 2002 and 2003, several releases helped the Xbox gain momentum and distinguish itself from the PS2. The Xbox Live online service was launched in late 2002 alongside pilot titles MotoGP, MechAssault and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon. Several best-selling and critically praised titles for the Xbox were published, such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Ninja Gaiden and LucasArts' Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Take-Two Interactive's exclusivity deal with Sony was amended to allow Grand Theft Auto III and its sequels to be published for the Xbox. Many other publishers got into the trend of releasing the Xbox version alongside the PS2 version, instead of delaying it for months.

In 2004 Halo 2 became the highest-grossing release in entertainment history, making over $125 million in its first day[31] and becoming Xbox Live's first killer app. That year Microsoft made a deal to put Electronic Arts's popular titles on Xbox Live.

The last game released on the Xbox was Madden NFL 09, on August 12, 2008.



Region Units sold
(as of May 10, 2006)
First available
North America 16 million November 15, 2001
Europe 6 million March 14, 2002
Asia 2 million February 22, 2002
Worldwide 24 million

On November 15 2001, Xbox launched in North America and quickly sold out. Its competitor, the Nintendo GameCube launched in September.

The Xbox has sold 24 million units worldwide as of May 10, 2006, according to Microsoft.[1] This is divided out to 16 million units sold in North America, six million units in Europe, and two million units sold in Asia.

UK advertising controversy

In 2002 the Independent Television Commission (ITC) banned a television advertisement for the Xbox in the United Kingdom after complaints that it was highly distasteful, violent, scary and upsetting. It depicted a mother giving birth to a small boy who was fired like a projectile through a hospital window and who aged rapidly as he flew through the air yelling. As he soared across a large area, he passed quickly through stages of his life as though time was passing him by. After aging into an old man, he crash-landed into his own grave. Dust and smoke poured from the grave. The advertisement ended with the slogan Life is short. Play more.[32]


Xbox motherboard, with installed modchip

The popularity of the Xbox, as well as (in the United States) its comparatively short 90-day warranty, inspired efforts to circumvent the built-in hardware and software security mechanisms, a practice informally known as modding. Within a few months of its release the Xbox BIOS was dumped and hacked by MIT student Andrew Huang so that it would skip digital signature checks and media flags, allowing unsigned code, Xbox game backups, etc., to be run. This was possible due to flaws in the Xbox's security.[33] Modding an Xbox in any manner will void its warranty, as it may require disassembly of the console. Having a modified Xbox may also disallow it from accessing Xbox Live if detected by Microsoft, as it contravenes the Xbox Live Terms of Use,[34] But most modchips can be disabled, allowing the Xbox to boot in a "stock" configuration. Softmods can be disabled by "coldbooting" a game (having the game in the DVD drive before turning the console on, so the softmod is not loaded) or by using a multiboot configuration.

There are four main methods of modding the Xbox:

  • Modchip: installing a modchip inside the Xbox that bypasses the original BIOS, with a hacked BIOS to circumvent the security mechanisms.[35]
  • TSOP flashing: reflashing the onboard BIOS chip with a hacked BIOS to circumvent the security mechanisms. The Xbox BIOS is contained on a commodity EEPROM (the 'TSOP'), which can be made writable by the Xbox by bridging points on the motherboard.[36] Flashing is usually carried out by using a specially crafted gamesave (see 'Game save exploit', below) to flash the onboard TSOP, but the TSOP can also be de-soldered and re-written in a standard EEPROM programmer. This method only works on 1.0 to 1.5 Xboxes, as later versions replace the commodity TSOP with an LPC ROM contained within a proprietary chip.[37]
  • Softmods: installing additional software files to the Xbox hard drive, which exploit programming errors in the Dashboard to gain control of the system, and overwrite the in-memory copy of the BIOS.[38] Soft modification is known to be safe for Xbox Live if the user enables multibooting with the Microsoft dashboard and an original game disc is used.[citation needed] (See also: Xbox softmods)
    • Game save exploit: using select official game releases to load game saves that exploit buffer overflows in the save game handling.[39] When these special game saves are loaded, they access an interface with scripts for installing the necessary softmod files. Disassembly of the Xbox is not required when installing most game save exploits.
  • Hot swapping: using a computer to change the data on the hard drive. This requires having the Xbox unlock the hard drive when it is turned on, then swapping the powered hard drive into a running computer. By using a Linux-based Live CD, data on the hard drive can be read, altered, and deleted. In most cases, an automated script will automatically install the softmod files directly to the Xbox hard drive. This technique has been used extensively to harbor cheating on many online games. Disassembly of the console is required to perform a hot swap.


Although technologically many aspects of the Xbox are out of date there is still a large following who continually build upon the capabilities of the original. No matter the method of an Xbox the features and results are relatively the same. Here is a list of features.

  • Dashboards - A hacked dashboard can also resort back to the original "MS" dashboard. A hacked dashboard is able to backup information, install and uninstall programs.

Alternative operating systems

Beyond gaming, a modded Xbox can be used as a media center with XBMC.[40]

There are also distributions of Linux developed specifically for the Xbox, including those based on Gentoo, Debian (see also Xebian), Damn Small Linux, and Dyne:bolic.

List of alternative operating systems:

One advantage over a regular, unmodded Xbox, is the ability to use a trainer.


  1. ^ a b "Gamers Catch Their Breath as Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Reinvent Next-Generation Gaming". Microsoft. 2006-05-10. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  2. ^ Morris, Chris (2006-05-09). "Grand Theft Auto, Halo 3 headed to Xbox 360". CNN. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b Asher Moses (2007-08-30). "Prepare for all-out war". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-07-16. "Combined, the first two Halo games have notched up sales of more than 14.5 million copies so far, about 8 million of which can be attributed to Halo 2, which is the best-selling first-generation Xbox game worldwide." 
  4. ^ The meaning of Xbox; Microsoft.(Xbox 360) | Economist (US), The
  5. ^
  6. ^ Microsoft (March 10, 2000). "Xbox Brings "Future-Generation" Games to Life". Press release. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  7. ^ a b c Kent, Steven L. (2004-02-16). "Xbox Timeline". Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Anandtech Microsoft's Xbox
  10. ^ Original Xbox Technical Specifications
  11. ^ "Xbox: Description of custom soundtracks". Microsoft Knowledge Base. 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  12. ^ Dolby Laboratories (2001-04-18). "The Xbox Video Game System from Microsoft to Feature Groundbreaking Dolby Interactive Content-Encoding Technology" (PDF). Press release. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  13. ^ "Microsoft takes Nvidia to arbitration over pricing of Xbox processors". EE Times. 2002-04-29.;?articleID=10803514. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  14. ^ "Microsoft and Nvidia settle Xbox chip pricing dispute". EE Times. 2003-02-06. Retrieved 2006-06-29. 
  15. ^ "Inside Xbox 360 Controller". 
  16. ^ Games of 2001. Game Informer (January 2002, pg. 48).
  17. ^ "Top 10 Tuesday: Worst Game Controllers". IGN. 2006-02-21. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  18. ^ Ninja Beach Party. Official Xbox Magazine (October 2002, issue 11, pg. 44).
  19. ^ - Hardware: Xbox Controller S
  20. ^ Xbox Retrospective: All-Time Top Xbox News - Gamer 2.0
  21. ^ "The Xbox Operating System". XBox Team Blog. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Coleman, Stephen (2003-01-07). "Xbox Live Subscriptions Double Expectations". IGN. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved at GameRankings
  27. ^ "NFL Fever 2002: Summary". GameRankings. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  28. ^ "Project Gotham Racing: Summary". GameRankings. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  29. ^ "Dead or Alive 3: Summary". GameRankings. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  30. ^ "Azurik: Rise of Perathia: Summary". GameRankings. Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  31. ^ Becker, David (2004-11-10). "'Halo 2' clears record $125 million in first day". Retrieved 2007-09-30. 
  32. ^ "'Shocking' Xbox advert banned". BBC News Online. 2002-06-06. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  33. ^ "The Hidden Boot Code of the Xbox". Xbox Linux. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  34. ^ "Xbox Live Terms of Use". October 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  35. ^ Rybka, Jason. [ "What Are They and Should You Use One?"]. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  36. ^ SLuSHIE (2004-03-30). "Flashing TSOP With ANY Version XBOX V1.0-V1.5 For Noobs". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  37. ^ Steil, Michael (2007-02-07). "Xbox Hardware Overview – Xcalibur". Xbox Linux. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  38. ^ Phoenix. "Phoenix Bios Loader". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  39. ^ Becker, David (2003-03-31). "Hacker cracks Xbox challenge". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  40. ^ Patrick Schmid and Achim Roos (2007-07-18). "Modding The Xbox Into The Ultimate Multimedia Center". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2004-05-11. 
  41. ^ "Windows CE .Net 4.20 ported to Xbox". Retrieved 2004-01-03. 

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:





Xbox (plural Xboxes)

  1. (video games, trademarks) Video game console manufactured and distributed by Microsoft.
  2. (video games) Any of the video game consoles in the Xbox product line, especially the original Xbox.


Derived terms

Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Category:Xbox article)

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

The console image for Xbox.
Manufacturer Microsoft
Active 20022006
Total Games 948 (210 present)
← (none) Xbox 360 →
Popular guides
  1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  2. Marvel vs. Capcom 2
  3. The Godfather: The Game
  4. Halo: Combat Evolved
  5. America's Army
  6. Capcom vs. SNK 2
  7. Halo 2
  8. Fable
  9. SVC Chaos: SNK vs. Capcom
  10. Fable: The Lost Chapters

Xbox is a sixth generation era video game console produced by Microsoft. It was first released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and on March 14, 2002 in Europe. It is the predecessor to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. The Xbox was Microsoft's first independent venture into the video game console arena, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Sega Dreamcast console. Notable launch titles for the console included Halo: Combat Evolved, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee.

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Pages in category "Xbox"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 210 total.






  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The Mis-Edventures
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
  • Enter the Matrix



G cont.




  • James Bond 007: Agent Under Fire
  • James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing
  • James Bond 007: NightFire
  • Juiced
  • Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
  • Justice League Heroes



  • The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning
  • Legends of Wrestling II
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
  • Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers





P cont.




(previous 200) (next 200)


Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Microsoft Xbox article)

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

Microsoft Xbox
Manufacturer Microsoft
Type Console
Release Date February 22, 2002 JP

November 15, 2001 NA
March 14, 2002 EU

Media DVD, CD
Save Format Memory Card
Input Options Controller
Special Features Xbox Live
Units Sold over 24 million worldwide
Top Selling Game Halo 2
Competitor(s) PlayStation 2
Nintendo GameCube
Predecessor N/A
Successor Xbox 360

The Xbox is Microsoft's video game console, released on November 15, 2001. It is Microsoft's first independent venture into the console arena, after having collaborated with Sega in porting Windows CE to the Sega Dreamcast console. It is a sixth-generation console. The price is currently 149 USD, 149 EUR, 99 GBP, 200 CAD, 249 AUD, 290 NZD and 1200 NOK. Notable launch titles for the console include Amped, Dead or Alive 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, and Project Gotham Racing.



The Xbox was initially developed within Microsoft by a small crew including Seamus Blackley, a game developer and high energy physicist.

While some critics were initially concerned that the Xbox would allow Microsoft to extend its dominance of the PC software market to consoles, As of 2005 estimates show the Xbox's share of the worldwide console market is only comparable to the Nintendo GameCube and far behind the PlayStation 2. The Xbox has not sold well in Japan, due to the Japanese people's poor acceptance of non-Japanese consoles, limited Japanese developer support, few game choices and the large size of the hardware itself. In much of Europe, the Xbox is currently slightly ahead of the GameCube, but is still far behind the PlayStation 2. Microsoft predicted that it would not make a profit on the Xbox for at least three years and that turned out to be correct; the division had its first profitable quarter in 2005.

In November, 2002, Microsoft released the successful Xbox Live online gaming service, allowing subscribers to play online Xbox games with (or against) other subscribers all around the world and download new content for their games to the hard drive. This online service only works with broadband. The milestone of 1 million subscribers was announced in July 8, 2004.

Several internal hardware revisions have been made to discourage modding, cut manufacturing costs, and to provide a more reliable DVD-ROM drive (the early units' drives were prone to failure).


Microsoft built the Xbox around industry-standard PC hardware, unlike the traditionally proprietary design of nearly all other gaming consoles. However, it still uses standard console architecture.

The inclusion of the hard disk not only serves as a disk cache for faster game loading times compared to the PS2 and repository for saved game information (eliminating the need for sold-separately memory cards), it also allows users to download and save new content for their games from Xbox Live and copy music from standard Audio CDs so players can partially or completely replace the soundtrack of Xbox games that support Custom Soundtracks, all firsts in console history. Custom Soundtracks are often supported in non-cinematic games (e.g. racing/driving games) where the music is inconsequential to what is happening in the game.

Although the Xbox is based on commodity PC hardware and runs a stripped-down version of the Windows 2000 |kernel using APIs based largely on DirectX, it incorporates restrictions designed to prevent uses not approved by Microsoft. The Xbox does not use Windows CE due to Microsoft internal politics at the time, as well as limited support in Windows CE for DirectX.

The Xbox is much larger and heavier than its contemporaries, and shipped with an unusually large controller. This is largely due to the large, tray-loading DVD-ROM drive and the standard-size 3.5" hard drive. Despite managing to be smaller and lighter than similar commodity PCs, the Xbox has found itself a target of mild derision, as gamers poke fun at it for things like a (overly cautious) warning in the Xbox manual that a falling Xbox "could cause serious injury" to a small child or pet. While some elements of the Xbox's design, like break-away cables for the controllers to prevent the console from being yanked from the shelf, take the size into account, it has undoubtedly hurt the system's sales to the space-conscious Japanese.

Another common complaint about the system was that the original game controller design was seen as too large for some people. For the Japanese Xbox launch, a new and smaller controller was introduced, a design which was subsequently released in other markets as the "Controller S", which eventually replaced the original design. Currently, all Xbox consoles come with a "Controller S", and the original version of the controller (also known as 'The Duke') is no longer sold.

Detailed specifications

  • CPU: 733 MHz Intel pentium III processor with a 133MHz Front Side Bus
  • Graphics Processor: 250 MHz custom chip named the NV2x, developed by Microsoft and nVIDIA (comparable to a low-end GeForce 4 Ti card)
  • Total Memory: 64 MB DDR SDRAM running at 200 MHz, supplied by Micron
  • Memory Bandwidth: 6.4 GB/s
  • Polygon Performance: 125 million flat-shaded polys/second
    • (Microsoft figure. Some critics assert that the Xbox's polygon-per-second number is exaggerated by unrealistic testing conditions.)
  • Sustained Polygon Performance: 100+ M/s (transformed and lit polygons per second)
  • Micropolygons/particles per second: 125 M/s
  • Particle Performance: 125 M/s
  • Simultaneous Textures: 4
  • Pixel Fill Rate - No Texture: 4.0 G/s (anti-aliased)
  • Pixel Fill Rate - 1 Texture: 4.0 G/s anti-aliased
  • Compressed Textures: Yes (6:1)
  • Full Scene Anti-Alias: Yes
  • Micro Polygon Support: Yes
  • Storage Medium: 2-5x DVD, 8 gigabyte hard disk, optional 8MB memory card
  • I/O: 2-5x DVD, 8GB/10GB hard disk, 8MB memory card
  • Audio Channels: 64 3D channels (up to 256 stereo voices)
  • 3D Audio Support: Yes
  • MIDI DLS2 Support: Yes
  • AC3 (Dolby Digital) Encoded Game Audio: Yes (via TOSLINK)
  • Broadband Enabled: Yes (10/100base-T ethernet)
  • DVD Movie Playback: Yes (separate DVD Playback Kit/Remote required)
  • Maximum Resolution (2x32bpp frame buffers +Z): 1920(vert.)x1080(horiz)
    • Note: NTSC (Non-HD) TV's have less than 500 horizontal lines. PAL TV's have less than 600 horizontal lines.
  • HDTV Support: Yes, 480p/720p/1080i (see game boxes for supported resolutions)
  • Controller Ports: 4 proprietary USB-based ports
  • Weight: 3.86kg
  • Dimensions: 324 × 265 × 90mm (12.8 × 10.4 × 3.5 inches)

Official Xbox accessories

Audio/video connectors

  • Standard AV Cable: Provides composite video and monaural or stereo audio to TVs equipped with RCA inputs. Comes with the system. European systems come with a RCA jack to SCART converter block in addition to the cable.
  • RF Adapter: Provides a combined audio and video signal on an RF connector.
  • Advanced AV Pack: A breakout box that provides S-Video and TOSLINK audio in addition to the RCA composite video and stereo audio of the Standard AV Cable.
  • High Definition AV Pack: A breakout box, intended for HDTVs, that provides a YPrPb component video signal over three RCA connectors. Also provides analog RCA and digital TOSLINK audio outputs.
  • Advanced SCART Cable: The European equivalent to the Advanced AV Pack, providing a full RGB video SCART connection in place of S-Video, RCA composite and stereo audio connections (composite video and stereo are still provided by the cable, through the SCART connector, in addition to the RGB signal), while retaining the TOSLINK audio connector. As Europe has no HDTV standard, no High Definition cable is currently provided in those markets.

Numerous unofficial third-party cables and breakout boxes exist that provide combinations of outputs not found in these official video packages; however, with the exception of a few component-to-VGA transcoders and custom-built VGA boxes, the four official video packages represent all of the Xbox's possible outputs. This output selectivity is made possible by the Xbox's SCART-like AVIP port.


  • Ethernet (Xbox Live) Cable: A Cat 5 cable for connecting the Xbox to a broadband modem or router (note that there is no "official" Xbox Live cable; any PC ethernet cable can be used)
  • Xbox Wireless Adapter: a wireless bridge which converts data running through an ethernet cable to a wireless (802.11b or 802.11g) signal to connect to a wireless LAN. While the official Wireless Adapter guarantees compatbility with the Xbox, almost any wireless bridge can be used.
  • Xbox Live Starter Kit: A subscription and installation pack for the Xbox Live service, as well as a headset (with monaural earpiece and microphone) that connects to a control box that plugs into the top expansion slot of a controller. The headset can in fact be replaced with most standard earpiece-and-microphone headsets; headset specialist Plantronics produce various officially-licenced headsets, including a special-edition headset for Halo 2.
  • System Link Cable: A Cat 5 crossover cable for connecting together two to four consoles, for up to 16 total players. This functionality is similar to Sega's DirectLink for Sega Saturn.


  • Xbox Media Center Extender: A kit that allows Xbox to act as a Media Center Extender to stream content from a Windows XP Media Center Edition PC. It can also be used for DVD playback.
  • DVD Playback Kit: Required in order to play DVD movies, the kit includes an infrared remote control and receiver. DVD playback was not included as a standard feature of the Xbox due to licensing issues with the DVD format that would have added extra cost to the console's base price. By selling a DVD remote separately, Microsoft was able to bundle the cost of the DVD licensing fee with it. Although there is nothing to prevent the Xbox from acting as a progressive-scan DVD player, Microsoft chose not to enable this feature in the Xbox DVD kit in order to avoid royalty payments to the patent-holder of progressive scan DVD playback.
  • Xbox Music Mixer: A utility software bundled with a microphone that connects to an adapter that plugs into the top expansion slot of a controller. Provides a music player with 2D/3D visualizations as well as basic karaoke functions. It also allows users to upload pictures in JPG format (to create slide shows) as well as audio in WMA and MP3 format (for karaoke or a game's Custom Soundtracks feature) from a Windows XP machine running the Xbox Music Mixer PC Tool.

Controllers and removable storage

  • Standard Xbox Controller (AKA "Controller O"): The normal Xbox controller for all territories except Japan, this has since been replaced in Xbox packs by the Controller S, and due to its increasing rarity, is believed to have been discontinued. It is considered to be bulky. The black and white buttons are located above the ABXY buttons, and the Back/Start buttons are located between and below the d-pad and right thumbstick.
  • Controller S: A smaller, lighter Xbox controller. Once the standard Xbox controller in Japan, it was released in other territories by popular demand, and eventually replaced the standard controller in the retail pack for the Xbox console. The white and black buttons are located below the ABXY buttons, and the Back/Select buttons are similarly placed below the left thumbstick.
  • Memory Unit: An 8MB removable solid-state memory card onto which game saves can either be copied from the hard drive when in the Xbox Dashboard's memory manager or saved during a game. Note that some recent games (e.g. Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball) do not support this accessory as a cheat prevention measure.
  • Logitech 2.4 GHz wireless controller. Approved by Microsoft for wireless gameplay with Xbox.

Xbox and DirectX

Microsoft's set of low-level APIs for game development and multimedia purposes, DirectX, was used as a basis for the Xbox's hardware programming (as well as its name, which implies "DirectX Box"). The API was developed jointly between Microsoft and NVIDIA, whose chips power the Xbox graphics. The Xbox API is similar to DirectX version 8.1, but is non-updateable just like other console technologies.

Modding the Xbox

The recent popularity of the Xbox has inspired efforts to circumvent the built-in hardware and software security mechanisms (sometimes in order to use the Xbox as a low cost web server), as well as to add customized design touches to the console's case (similar to PC case modding). Hardware modding can involve anything from simply replacing the console's green decorative "jewel" with a custom-designed one to opening up the case and installing a modchip. However, there are many reputable sites in the UK (where overall, it is still technically legal) selling pre-loaded modchipped Xboxes.

Software modding is much less intrusive, and only involves running software exploits to trick the Xbox into running unsigned program code. This allows running an alternate dashboard such as Avalaunch, Evolution-X or UnleashX and in turn makes playing original (free) homebrew games such as Star Wars or various older games through arcade and games console emulators possible. This is especially attractive as the Xbox is designed to output to TVs, and high-quality controllers and arcade sticks are available for it.

The original hard drive can be replaced with a larger one. Then Xbox games can be copied from the DVD to the hard disk and then played directly from the hard drive. This requires a modded Xbox using one of the alternative dashboards, and is used by scrupulous users to eliminate load times or leave their games in storage, and by unscrupulous users to play illegally copied games.

Beyond gaming, a modded Xbox can be used as a media center with the Xbox Media Center software (XBMC) allowing the playing of DVDs without the $30 DVD dongle/remote and streaming of music and video files from the hard drive or from another computer over a network. A modded Xbox can even be configured into a computer running Linux or Microsoft Windows CE operating systems.

Modding an Xbox may require opening the Xbox case, and would certainly void the Xbox's warranty. Also, most internal hardware modifications will render an Xbox unable to participate in Xbox Live which is why many modders use a switch to turn on and off their modifications to the Xbox. But as of November 2004, Microsoft has been taking new actions for banning Xboxes with hard drive modifications from the Xbox Live service. There has been several theories on how banning in this new method is done. One theory is that there is a "marriage" of one's hard drive serial number and one's Xbox's serial number, and banning if one of those two change due to part replacement. Another is that it might check for modified files, and another suggesting that Microsoft is detecting if the unique hard drive key of every Xbox has changed.

Currently, it is believed that Microsoft compares each Xbox's serial number and hard drive serial number upon connecting to Live, and that any "unpairing" of the two will result in a ban for the user associated with the console.

Price history

North America


  • €479 (Launch Price (Ireland) March 14, 2002),
  • £299 GBP (Launch Price March 14, 2002),
  • €299 (Launch Price (Rest of Europe) and Ireland April 26, 2002)
  • €249 (August 30, 2002)
  • €199 (2003)
  • £130 (2003)
  • €149 (August 27, 2004)
  • £99 (August 27, 2004)


  • AU$699 AUD (April 26, 2002, Launch Price) (Quickly dropped to $399 to compete with launch of Nintendo Gamecube)
  • AU$399 AUD
  • NZ$499 NZD (October 3, 2002, Launch Price)
  • AU$349 (2003)
  • NZ$399 (2003)
  • AU$299 (2004)
  • NZ$349 (2004)
  • AU$249 (2004, 2005)
  • NZ$299 (2004 Q2)
  • NZ$249 (2004 Q4, 2005)

Of note is the high European launch price. As with many games consoles (for example, the PlayStation series), the Xbox was launched with a price in GBP equal to its US price in USD (in this case, $/£299), and this price then converted for the rest of Europe. Obviously, ignoring the GBP-USD exchange rate in the way gives the impression of a 100% mark-up for Europe.

With a price-dropped PlayStation 2 and a comparatively inexpensive GameCube as competition, many users were naturally reluctant to invest in the console (interestingly, the PS2 had faced similar attacks during the UK tabloids' preoccupation with "Ripoff Britain"). Microsoft countered with a £100 price drop (and its equivalent in the rest of Europe) some scant months after launch. To avoid frustrating early adopters, they offered a bundle containing two games and one controller for free to any purchaser who could provide a sales receipt showing the original higher price.

See also

External links

  • Official Xbox website
  • Xbox Community/Modding/Tutorial/News site
  • Xbox modchip & backup forums
  • XLink Kai global gaming network - Allows free online Xbox functionality as well as GameCube, PS2 and recently Sony PSP and Nintendo DS all from a single application.
  • Xbox Directory
  • Xbox Media Center — play almost any kind of video and audio formats with a modded Xbox.
  • Xbox-Linux website
  • Gentoo Linux for Xbox (GentooX)

This article uses material from the "Microsoft Xbox" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

Simple English

An Xbox is a video game console (a machine that plays video games). Xbox was made by Microsoft. It was made from November 2001 to October 2005. A person plays the games with a controller. The controllers were very large in the beginning, but were made smaller later. The Xbox video game console can play music, DVDs, and games. Microsoft does not make more Xboxes now because they make the next version of Xbox, Xbox 360.

The last game for the original Xbox is Barbie Horse Adventures: Riding Camp, released on October 26, 2008.


Xbox was the first video game console by Microsoft. It is a very large video game console and it had a cost of $299.99 in the United States. It began one year after Playstation 2 and at the same time as the Nintendo GameCube. Halo was the first very popular game for the Xbox. Many people bought an Xbox to play Halo - this gave Microsoft time to make more good games on the Xbox. There were some other games available on Xbox when it launched too, but Halo was the most popular.

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