The history of creation and development of video game consoles Xbox

A brief history of creation and development of one of the most successful lines of gaming consoles

History Xbox

Who would have thought that Microsoft, once the only producer of operating systems and software, will be one of the key manufacturers of gaming consoles?

How it all began

His first steps in the gaming industry, Microsoft made back in the 90-ies. If not to take into account quite specific series of Microsoft Flight Simulator, which was produced from 1982 to 2012, it all started with the release of the API set for DirectX in 1995, which was aimed at a more comfortable developing games for their new Windows 95. The first version was called Windows Game SDK, later renamed to DirectX more details on this point are not going to stop. Should I remind you that DirectX is used for computer and Xbox games, relevant at the moment for 12 version.

The first successful audition to get into the gaming industry

On the personal subjective opinion, the first really good experience in games was the strategy of Age of Empires that was developed by Ensemble Studios (later to be bought by the Redmond giant) and published by Microsoft in 1997, and recently it was announced 4K re-release for the 20th birthday of the game.

At that time, Microsoft has almost no experience in the gaming industry, but the company knew that it is potentially very profitable. The company from the different parties was close to gaming topics. At that time the kings of the market of game consoles was a Japanese company. Microsoft d 1998 attempted cooperation with the company SEGA, which has developed its fifth under the account (and the last, but that’s another story) console Dreamcast. Microsoft tried to push its Windows CE OS, the main arguments in its favor was an easy process of porting computer games and support for DirectX 6. In fact, Windows CE functionally inferior operating system, the Dreamcast, where SEGA and stopped. Although games developed on Windows CE really was, but they worked slower, but Windows CE itself was loaded from the disk before starting the game. In Japan, the Dreamcast was released on November 27, 1998 (the rest of the markets later). Due to very unfortunate financial situation and exit later (and more advanced) Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube in 2001, SEGA decided to stop the production of Dreamcast. But the history of cooperation between SEGA and Microsoft is not the end.

The Original Xbox

In March 1999, was announced on the PlayStation 2, which was positioned not only as a gaming console, and home multimedia center which can play videos and music. Four employees from Microsoft development teams DirectX: Seamus Blackley (Seamus Blackley), Kevin Bacchus (Kevin Bachus), Otto Berkes (Otto Berkes) and Ted Hayes (Ted Hase) got together and began to nurture the idea of developing their own gaming console. The main idea of the team from Microsoft to create a console with many features and functionality of a PC, but a simple interface and quick loading of games as consoles. And, of course, power was planned to surpass the PS2 in half. 5 may 1999, they told my idea to bill gates, in consequence, he did agree to such an unexpected move. Also an idea came to mind and the ed Freis, who was the head of the gaming division of Microsoft. Interesting fact: the first prototype was assembled from parts from Dell laptops. The working name was the DirectX Box, which was shortened to Xbox. Marketers of the Corporation did not like it, but as a result of the focus groups, it turned out that ordinary users of a slightly different opinion and the name Xbox was final.

The first engineering team Xbox

Seamus Blackley

Kevin Bacchus

Otto Berkes

Ted Hayes

A kind of second stage of approval was held on 18 June 1999 at a meeting with bill gates, where development of the device approves and Steve Ballmer (Steve Ballmer), but hang the chief engineer of Microsoft Rick Thompson (Rick Thompson) the duty to control the adequacy of what is happening. The green light is received and you can proceed to the immediate development. In July 1999 Begin negotiations with manufacturers of hardware: AMD, Intel, ATI and Nvidia. By coincidence, the choice falls on a bunch of Intel and Nvidia. Preliminary financial calculations horrified Rick Thompson: he predicted a loss of $3 billion over 8 years, although in the end they were even more. In 2005, the loss of Microsoft Xbox reached $4 billion Rick Thompson left the company in 2000, after the first presentation of the console at GDC 2000.

Just dancing Ballmer and gates, keep looking ;

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Inside Xbox is very reminiscent of a desktop PC, and used computer hardware, because it was quite bulky and heavy. The final hardware:
Customized 32-bit Intel Pentium III 733 MHz, 64 MB RAM, video card
Nvidia NV2x (GeForce 3/4) 233 MHz, hard disk of 8 GB and support for additional maps on 8 MB. He worked the console in the so-called Xbox OS was based on Windows architecture, the interface of the Xbox Dashboard.

After the approval configuration console, it’s time to think about the content. In early 2000, Seamus Blackley and Kevin Bacchus engaged in negotiations with game developers. February 14, 2000 bill gates called a meeting with the Xbox team to decide whether to get involved in this potentially very unprofitable venture. According to the results of a few hours the Xbox gave the go-ahead. And for 10 March at the Game Developer Conference, bill gates personally unveils the first gaming console Microsoft. She was met pretty cool, which is not surprising: a new player in the market of consoles, without experience and with dim prospects, although the presence of the hard drive and cable Internet connection was perceived with interest. Photos and videos below from the archives vg247.

The announcement of the Xbox at GDC 2000

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Rick Thompson is retiring from the Corporation, and promoting the Xbox will now address the President of Entertainment & Devices Division Robert Bach (Robbie Bach). Ed freis (Ed Fries) is responsible for the development of games, and to join the team Jay Allard (J Allard): Hardware & System Software Development and Mitch Koch (Koch Mitch): marketing. Then had to provide the maximum possible number of games for the console and negotiations with the developers and publishers are continuing. Among the first was able to negotiate with Activision, Eidos, Epic, id Software, THQ, Lucas Arts, autumn and winter agree Konami and Capcom. It is worth noting the purchase of the company Bungie in June of 2000 for $30 million, which gave the world one of the most popular (if not the most popular) Xbox franchise Halo. The first part was presented in 1999 for Windows and Mac, but after buying the company the situation has changed: the game was released for Xbox in 2001 and PC and Mac two years later. In October 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft and became a private company, and the rights to the franchise Halo remained with Microsoft. With Electronics Arts to agree was not easy: the company worked closely with Sony, and in particular over the network services of the PS2. In December failed to agree on the first trial a range of games, mostly sports, but about supporting a network game it is not.

In January 2001, bill gates along with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson will present the Xbox part of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Show the public the final design and name the date of beginning of sales of the Xbox.

An interesting situation happened with SEGA: as was later told by one of the former employees of Microsoft to develop Xbox had considered buying SEGA with their Dreamcast console, about which we wrote above. But the situation SEGA was in a poor state: a lot of debt, and caught in sale in the year 2000, Sony PlayStation 2 console Dreamcast to compete really could not. 31 January 2001 it was announced the end of production for the console (although the sale of recovered instances will be resumed in 2006). Microsoft quickly podsuetilis and 30 March 2001, announced on long-term strategic Alliance with SEGA and announced the first lineup of games SEGA for Xbox. Many draw Parallels and find similarities between the Dreamcast controller and the first version of the controller for Xbox (aka Duke), which is not particularly appreciated, the result is the Xbox controller S, which later was packaged with the console.

The Dreamcast Controller

The original Xbox controller (Duke)

Updated Xbox controller S

Following the official announcement at CES 2001 should be very expensive and a massive advertising campaign, and in may will present the Microsoft Xbox in the framework of E3. It was quite sad for the Xbox due to technical problems during the presentation and poster consoles with simplified hardware, which is not pulled some games. Despite this, advertising has done its job and people in the United States rushed to stores November 15, 2001 for the first batch of Xbox at a price of $299 in the store Toyr ‘R Us on times square. First console was handed over personally by bill gates:

For the first three weeks the Xbox has sold slightly over a million copies. Not a record, but a very good result for the first game console company. Moreover, a few days later in the United States was launched on the Nintendo GameCube. Warmer only console accepted in the United States. Europe and Japan are still suspicious of the first brainchild of Microsoft in the console market. Despite this, the total sales of the Xbox and not nearly up to the PS2, but was higher than GameCube and Dreamcast. Comparison:

Console;Microsoft Xbox;Sony PlayStation 2;Nintendo GameCube;SEGA Dreamcast

Release date in USA and Japan;15 Nov 2001, 22 February 2002;26 Oct 2000, 4 March 2000;18 Nov 2001 14 September 2001;September 9, 1999, November 27, 1998 and the Starting value;$299;$299;$199;$199 How many sold;24+ million (2006);140 million (2008);21.74 million (2006);10.6 million (2006)

Developing a game console is a long process and is usually the first work on new starts, shortly after the release of the previous one. The first work on the Xbox 360 (of course, the rumors appeared like the Xbox 2) had already begun a couple of months, in January 2002, but the core strength of Microsoft has allowed to online service Xbox LIVE, which was announced at E3 2002 and launched a year after the first Xbox, 15 November 2002. Finally, the network connection has become really useful. For the first week managed to sell 150 thousand subscriptions.

Microsoft losses on Xbox were more than impressive, but the company still has established itself and it was time to start working on a new model. Team Xbox have a very significant change. Kevin Bachus, left the company in 2001, after the announcement of the first Xbox. After him leaving in the spring of 2002 and Seamus Blackley,. Own console of the 7th generation Microsoft decided to release in 2005 and by that time needed a hit project level Halo, for that ed freis meets with cliff Blezinski (Cliff Bleszinski) from Epic Games, later there will be another exclusive franchise Gears of War. The freis left the company in 2004.

The story continues with SEGA in January 2003 to work on the new Xbox at Microsoft comes the former President of the American division of SEGA, Peter Moore (Peter Moore), which is pictured on the left with a Halo 2 tattoo. He is actively involved in the work and participates in developing and negotiating with publishers and developers, which helped to negotiate with a bunch of companies, including increased collaboration with Electronic Arts, already in 2004, introduces support for network service Xbox Live. The service expands to 14 countries, and in December of the same year launched Xbox LIVE Arcade service with an inexpensive and small downloadable games from independent studios.

But back to the console, which was codenamed Xenon, Xbox 2, Xbox FS, Xbox Next or NextBox. Clear requirements for the console was formulated in 2003: of course, planned a decent power reserve, multi-media function (playback of HD video in particular), networking opportunities and planned to release the console before Sony will release a competitor in the face of the PlayStation 3. As carriers was selected DVDs (plus the flash drive or hard drive of different size in different versions), but the “iron” both a major supplier has changed. IBM has developed for the console CPU Xenon, which had a lot in common with the IBM PowerPC in the Mac, which facilitated the process of creating games, the graphics core was developed by the company ATI. Iron was prepared in September 2004. Sony used the PS3 Cell processor with a unique architecture and a standard Bly-Ray, which was not so common. It remains to deal with the name of the future console. For comparisons with the PS3 title Xbox 2 was discarded. Eventually came the Xbox 360, which hinted at vsenepremennoj console.

  • CPU IBM Xenon (PowerPC architecture), 3 cores 3.2 GHz
  • 1 MB L2 cache
  • Graphics chip ATI Xenos
  • 10 MB eDRAM 500 million polygons per second
  • 512 MB of RAM (and uses CPU and GPU)
  • total performance 1 ТFLOPS
  • the CPU 115 GFLOPS
  • Wired and wireless gamepads
  • Kinect
  • wired Fast Ethernet (100 Mb/s), wireless Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11 a/b/g, IEEE 802.11 n (in later versions)

Meanwhile, in 2004, out of Halo 2. It becomes the best selling game in the history of Xbox and Microsoft brings $125 million in first day sales and became the leader of Xbox LIVE. Later it was ported to Xbox 360 because of the unprecedented popularity. The company was in a hurry with a new console on the market, which caused technical problems, which we’ll talk more later. In the end, 12 may 2005, Microsoft announced the Xbox 360 under the TV show on MTV with Elijah wood and The Killers performance. A few days after the announcement, Microsoft presentation at E3, shows Gears of War (which eventually will also become incredibly popular) and a range of games that will be available to Xbox 360 in November 2005. Competitors PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii will go on sale only after a year that allowed Microsoft is very successful to sell their console.

The Announcement Of The Xbox 360

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On November 22 2005 in the United States began selling two versions: the Xbox 360 c HDD 20 GB (Pro or Premium) for $399 and the cheaper Xbox 360 Core for $299 with a memory card included (later replaced by the Arcade). Because of the rush of the first game was small and was sold out within the first week, and by the end of the year sales exceeded 1.5 million units. Because of the haste in the console, not entirely successfully installed the GPU and not refined cooling system, the console overheated and gave two red lights on the front panel, regular overheating the chip failed and the front panel appeared fatal three red light bulbs, the so-called “Red ring of Death” RRoD (Red Ring of Death), which meant the death of the console. According to various sources, the percentage of faults ranged from 24 to 30%, which is a lot. Needless to say, it badly affected the reputation of the company and replacement cost of $1 billion. For this reason in the end there was a lot of Mamatov:

After a year out of Sony’s PlayStation 3, which at launch was $500 and had at their disposal many games (including exclusive), as the Xbox 360, and Nintendo released the surprisingly popular Wii, which was less powerful but had an unusual controllers that tracked the movements of the player and cost $250. Meanwhile, Xbox 360 exclusive comes out (temporary) Gears of War, which will eventually become the second most popular franchise on the Xbox after Halo. Problems with the marriage, the company decided in 2007 and released an updated version, which will not last. Since 2007, the console got a HDMI connector, motherboard the I Xenon Zephyr 90 nm CPU and GPU changed to the updated 65-nm Falcon, Jasper and Corona, and later was Slim (2010) feature motherboard Valhalla with a 45-nm video card integrated into the processor. In addition to the guts to change the design and configuration of interfaces. The whole family Pro, Arcade, Elite, Slim, and E (2013):

For the first time since beginning work on the first generation Xbox gaming division of Microsoft turned a profit in 2008, but then comes the second part of Gears of War, in the first weekend of sales in Xbox Live, over a million players playing it online.

Apparently, the company was inspired by Nitendo Wii and decided to create his own tracking of the motion controller. It was originally shown in June 2009 and was called Project Natal. He keeps track of players with two depth sensors, video camera and microphone. A year later, on 15 June 2010 he received the final name of Kinect, went on sale in autumn of the same year. Despite the very limited number of games, Microsoft fails for the first 4 months to sell 10 million Kinect to go with this in the Guinness Book of records as the fastest selling device.

The Announcement Of Kinect E3 2010

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Handicap in 1 year gave the Xbox 360 an advantage and for a long time the console was outselling the PS3, and the games were bigger, but the situation changed towards the end of the life cycle of the consoles of the 7th generation, the PS3 received a huge number of exclusives and the PS Plus subscription every month predlagalo games for free. In the end, the numbers were as follows:

Console;Microsoft Xbox 360;Sony PlayStation 3;Nintendo Wii

Release date;November 22, 2005;11 November 2006, 17 November 2006;November 19, 2006 the Starting price;$399/299;$499;$249 How much was sold; 85.48 million (April 2016);87 million (April 2015);101.63 million (March 2016)

The original Xbox was a pretty short life cycle and development of the Xbox 360 began almost immediately after the launch of the console. The Xbox 360 was more long lasting and the first work on the Xbox One started only 3 years after the start of sales, in 2008. As expected, on the console were a huge number of rumors, leaks appeared.

About the title was also a lot of options, for example, the Xbox 720 logo was spotted in the movie “real steel” (2011). Before the announcement of the regular flashed version of the Durango and some publications (Forbes, for example) attributed to the console, the name Xbox Infinity. But the company called it simply the Xbox One, has announced her don mettrik may 21, 2013. In addition to the console showed Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break and NBA Live 14.

The audience is not the best way took the console for a number of reasons: for the most part not talking about the game possibilities, and on the software media features, Kinect and so on. But one of the most unpleasant moments for gamers was the information that the console will require a constant connection to the Internet. Sounded different information: a permanent connection to the network, the need for a network connection once a day or the need to connect only to multiplayer games. At E3 2013 Microsoft focuses on gaming content, and what awaits the audience, but the price tag is $499 (console was shipped with an updated Kinect), the need for a permanent connection, you may not resell the CDs and regional restrictions caused outrage. What can be said about the presentation of Sony’s PlayStation 4, which was cheaper by $100 and were met with applause. As for the console itself, it (and direct competitor) uses close to PC architecture, both built on the hybrid APU solutions AMD Jaguar, but with different characteristics, the performance of the PS4 is higher. Sales of Xbox One started at the end of 2013, traditionally for the holidays and were sad.

  • 8-core 40-nanometer x86-x64 CPU APU 1.75 GHz
  • AMD Radeon GPU in the APU lineup, based on AGCN architecture with 12 compute modules, 768 cores, support for DirectX 11.2, resolutions 1080p and 4K, the frequency of 853 MHz
  • 8 GB RAM DDR3’s esram 32 MB
  • 1.31 TFLOPS
  • HDD 500 GB (will be later versions available up to 2 TB)
  • slot Blu-Ray/DVD drive
  • 7.1 channel sound
  • 3хUSB 3.0, HDMI 1.4 in, HDMI 1.4 out, optical S/PDIF audio output and Ethernet
  • Updated wireless controller, Kinect 2.0
  • OS: Xbox One system software based on Windows 8, now Windows 10

Design Xbox One is fundamentally different from its predecessor: it has the shape of a parallelepiped with beveled edges and is made of matte and glossy plastic. Of course, then there are other colors. The controller is also noticeably changed, became more comfortable and got fit for a fighting game D-Pad-th. Later released an updated model with a standard headset Jack (in the first version needed the adapter) and very fancy Elite version with additional interchangeable buttons, interchangeable elements and setting up triggers.

Don mettrik left the company. Behind him, in February 2014, leaves and former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer announced his retirement, and in his place comes Satya Nadella. After that, Nadella appoints Phil Spencer head of the Xbox division of Microsoft Studio, and things are beginning to change for the better. Spencer announced the closure of the Studio that made exclusive content for the console and release a cheaper configuration without Kinect, thus equalizing the prices of competitors. And in June and completely removed restrictions on the Internet connection, offline games, the resale of CDs and a regional anchor, the console is getting closer to the people. Plus Xbox One has got two more exclusives of Tomb Raider and Crackdown (temporary). Although, for good Xbox One exclusives are almost gone: almost all sooner or later comes out on PC. But the company made a “knight’s move” and announced that in late 2015 the console will receive a software upgrade and backward compatibility with the Xbox 360, a list of which will be constantly updated.

At E3 2016, Microsoft introduced the Xbox One S, which is 40% less than the original. Fewer USB ports, decreased IR-port, and Kinect is now connected via external USB adapter. Instead of 28 nm is a new 16-nanometer chip, the frequency of the graphics accelerator increased from 852 to 914 MHz, the performance increased to 1.40 TFLOPS, HDMI now version 2.0, plus adds support for HDR. Xbox One’s available options: 2 TB for $399, 1TB — $349 and 500 GB — $299.

Xbox One X

In addition to Xbox One’s, Microsoft announced at E3 2016 and a more serious upgrade, yet codenamed Project Scorpio. The console will feature a graphics card with the GPU on 6 TFLOPS and a memory bandwidth of 320 GB/s. This allows to maintain a stable 60 FPS at 4K resolution even in the busiest scenes. In September 2016, Sony has introduced a competitor in the face PlayStation 4 Pro with overclocked OCTA-core AMD Jaguar processor and new AMD Radeon graphics on the Polaris architecture with 8GB of GDDR5 memory and a peak performance of 4.2 TFLOPS. It supports HDR and 4K, but not in all games. The games gives a more stable 60 frames per second at FullHD resolution.

So we got to announced yesterday at E3 2017 Xbox One X, which is the same Project Scorpio and technically is the most powerful gaming console at the moment. Despite the fact that the Xbox One X is much superior to the Xbox One and the Xbox One’s, it is not a next generation game console and is backwards compatible with the previous models, including accessories. Maximum performance Xbox One X is 6 TFLOPS, she got an 8-core processor with 2.3 GHz, 12 Gbytes of GDDR5 memory and a graphics processor with a frequency of 1172 MHz (for comparison, PlayStation 4 Pro: 4.2 TFLOPS, GPU frequency is 911 MHz). Built-in memory — 1 TB. For cooling, a liquid cooling system with a vaporization chamber Vapor Chamber. Promise that all games will run at 4K resolution and HDR support with a frame rate of 60 FPS. Plus there’s Ultra HD Blu-ray drive for 4K video.

The design has generally remained in the same style, but the console itself has become more compact. As Microsoft says: this is the most compact console, the Xbox

In addition, Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One X for developers, it more powerful got 24 GB of RAM, has 44 compute units and a peak performance of 6.6 TFLOPS, instead of a hard drive set SSD disk on 1 terabyte. The front has three additional USB ports, multi-function OLED display with navigation keys and five programmable buttons. Included will be an external battery and a high-speed data cable. Its speed of data transfer is 100 GB in 4 minutes, it is compatible with past models of the Xbox One and Xbox One S.

Performance is great, but in terms of game consoles the game. Until thick. Xbox One X will go on sale 7 November, priced at $499, promise 22 exclusive (at least temporary). Plus updates with 4K support and HDR, some already released games.

The Announcement Of The Xbox One X

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