The Xbox is a video game console produced by Microsoft. It was Microsoft’s first step into the gaming console market, and competed with Sony’s PlayStation 2, Sega’s Dreamcast, and Nintendo’s GameCube. The integrated Xbox Live service allows players to compete online. The name for the Xbox was originally the Direct X-box as it came from a group of Microsoft Direct X developers, but later changed to Xbox after focus testing. Popular launch games for the console included Dead or Alive 3, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fuzion Frenzy and Project Gotham Racing.
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The Xbox Release
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 were discontinued on March 2, 2009, although in-warranty repairs will still be done.
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The Xbox Hardware
The Xbox was the first major console to yield a hard disk drive, used primarily for storing game saves compressed in ZIP archives and content downloaded from Xbox Live. This eliminated the need for separate memory cards. 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.
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.
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.
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