The Microsoft Xbox
The Xbox (commonly known today as the original Xbox) is a home video game console and the first installment in the Xbox series of consoles manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001, in North America, followed by Australia, Europe and Japan in 2002. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market. The sixth-generation console competed with Sony's PlayStation 2 and the GameCube. It was also the first console produced by an American company since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in 1996.
The Xbox, graphically powerful compared to its rivals, featured a standard PC's 733 MHz Intel Pentium III processor. It was also noted for its PC-like size and weight, and was first console to feature a built-in hard disk. In November 2002, Microsoft launched Xbox Live, a fee-based online gaming service that enabled subscribers to download new content and connect with other players through a broadband connection.
Unlike other online services from Sega and Sony, Xbox Live had support in the original console design through an integrated Ethernet port. The service gave Microsoft an early foothold in online gaming and would help the Xbox become a relevant competitor to other sixth-generation consoles. The popularity of blockbuster titles such as Halo 2 contributed to the popularity of online console gaming, and in particular first-person shooters. Despite this and being in second position, ahead of Nintendo, sales of the Xbox were always well behind Sony's PlayStation 2.
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