VidÃ©o : The story of Xbox 360
November 22nd 2005, that is to say almost a year before Sony's PS3 or Nintendo Wii, Microsoft launches the XBox 360.
And after Dwayne Johnson for the first XBox, Microsoft calls Elijah Wood for the launch party, during which we could all see the cream-white XBox robe for the first time.
As a touch of marketing originality, the XBOx came in two packs, the Core pack sold for 299 €, or the Premium pack for 399 €.
With the exception of the DVD tray chrome finish for the Premium model, the two consoles were identical. Except that the hig end model was equiped with a 20 Gigs HD, whereas the normal had an internal flash memory.
Premium pack also features a wireless controller and gaming headset.
The 360 is built upon an IBM PowerPC architecture, as opposed to the XBox One who's sticking to PC architecture, just like the first XBox.
The irony is that the PowerPC configuration was a problem when it came to backwards compatibility for XBox games to XBox 360 games, AND LATER for 360 games to XBox One games...
And one can't mention tech choices without talking about the DVD drive.
Sony chose to go all in with its Blu Ray, while remembering how important the PS2 DVD drive was to crush the Dreamcast.
Microsoft choses to use good ol' DVD.
But what is logical and true for one console generation, is not necessarily right and justified for the next one.
Back then the DVD was a considerable evolution from the VHS. In a time where HD tvs were not that common, the public thought that the Blu Ray added value was not enough to justify the ludicrous price of the PS3.
That technical stagnation didn't hurt Microsoft, it also boosted the sales.
An optionnal peripheral would allow for HD but Microsoft made the wrong bet. In a times of fights over costs, the XBox could be equiped with an HD DVD USB drive for only 179 Euros.
Only problem, two years after, Sony's Blu Ray becomes the norm, and Toshiba's HD DVD is discarded.
Microsoft halts all the sales while early buyers experience what it's like to own the most expansive paper weight ever.
Some technical mishaps to note: noisy fans, Red Ring Of Death, DVD scratches, no HDMI plug on the first models.
All this aside, it was a success for Microsoft. The console is powerful and can stand a comparison between the best PCs of the time, with a removable HDD.
Regarding the controller, if the analog button was not the best in the world, the overall design and feeling once in hand are simply excellent, and shall set a standard for PC use. As opposed to the first XBox, the controllers have standard USB connectors.
About games, it is of course impossible to name them all, but the console shall get a rather decent amount of them in no time. How could we ever forget the beauty of Gears of War, the many iterations of Halo or the Forza serie whose pinnacle was Forza 4 along with its more arcade variant: Forza Horizon.
Among blockbusters like GTA, the game that sold the most was Kinect Adventures with 22 million copies, but it was for a reason: the Kinect gizmo allowed users to use their whole body as a controller.
Less pleasant was the AAA argument Microsoft used to raise the AAA games price from 60 to 70€.
For the first time in the videogame world, a console designed and made by Microsoft sold as good as the PS3 from Sony, with excellent games and many remarkable features.