The history of Xbox has many ups and downs (image: Microsoft)

A reader looks back at & # 39; the rise and fall of & # 39; an Xbox brand and why they're still optimistic about its prospects in the next generation.

Announced in March 2000, Microsoft's goal was to stop Sony and PlayStation monopolizing the gaming industry, an admirable cause for a company with a monopoly on & # 39; a PC brand. Released in November 2001 with many exclusive games of top quality such as Dead Or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing, Jet Set Radio Future, and of course the legendary Halo: Combat Evolution, the console was ready to take on its rivals.

But this wouldn't be an Xbox console without talking. The original controller, the applicable name & # 39; Duke & # 39; was so great that any first-party developer Lionhead would steel the Japanese S controller without the knowledge of Microsoft. The Xbox could no longer feel American compared to the svelte designs of its Japanese rivals; it was big, powerful, and bombastic – it could be one of the reasons that the Japanese never embraced the Xbox brand.

The console's internet capabilities were the truly unique point of sale, they launched into the system online and Halo 2 provided game-changing matchmaking capabilities that are still unused to this day. The original Xbox did very well, it was a powerful system with must-play games, excellent third-party support, and game-changing online features, but it only had modest sales of 24 million. Dethroning the PlayStation 2 was a tall order, especially released 18 months later. The launch of the & # 39; s original Xbox is estimated to have lost Microsoft $ 4 billion and only managed to make a profit in late 2004.

Microsoft went all in on their follow-up, the hugely successful Xbox 360. Released in the winter of 2005, the Xbox 360 felt like a far more calculated approach to console games than its predecessor. It was a massive leap in graphics over the previous generation, Xbox Live was fully integrated with dedicated friends lists, the design was contemporary and bad, and the controller refined – became one of & # 39; s best controllers in gaming.

Released a year before the PlayStation 3 and at a much more affordable price, the Xbox 360 enjoyed massive sales and was the market leader for the majority of the generation. Despite the hardware issues that arose from the Red Ring of Death and the lack of a Blu-ray drive, the Xbox 360 still managed to eat away Sony's huge lead from & # 39; e previous generation. The release of & # 39; the Kinect gave Microsoft a small taste of & # 39; e Wii & # 39; s success, however, this is also where things started south.

Game development shifted dramatically away from traditional console games and despite the acquisition of Twisted Pixel and Press Play in 2011 and 2012, respectively, Xbox began to rely heavily on third-party games and partnerships, which would cause bad consequences for the next generation.

Most gamers will remember the shambolic discovery of Xbox One in May 2013, their DRM policy, mandatory Kinect, lack of power, high price, and the emphasis on their television features did not sit well with the gaming community. After reversing many of these criticisms and despite a reasonable start-up and the promise of stellar-looking games such as Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, Fable Legends, and Project Spark that arrived, the Xbox One looked forward that it might be OK.

But the mandatory Kinect that inflated the price of a less powerful console was a difficult pill to swallow and with the memory of an Xbox boss that told gamers to buy an Xbox 360 if they didn't like it, they were still very fresh. Add to this, Microsoft Studios was in complete turmoil. Bungie (arguably the crown jewel of Microsoft) had nested it during the Xbox 360 generation; Lionhead, Press Play, and Ensemble were shut down; and Twisted Pixel went back to being independent.

Microsoft had 343 Studios, Rare, The Coalition, and Turn 10 to make games into what became an almost embarrassing exclusive line-up, relying on their solid but ever-growing franchise. Xbox One sales are not officially public, but sales are thought to be close to the $ 50 million mark, at least the failure you would believe, but certainly a fall from grace of & # 39; # 39; the 84 million that the Xbox 360 has reached.

Announced at E3 in 2018, Microsoft laid their cards on a table about what their future would look like. They have purchased four new studios, including Forza Horizon developer Playground Games and Ninja Theory, developers of critically acclaimed Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, as well as designing a new studio with the name The Initiative. Later in the year, they announced three other acquisitions, including Obsidian Entertainment, one of & # 39; best Western role-playing developers in & # 39; e world. Their decision to support their first batch production has yet to yield results, but the future looks brightly brighter than it did.

The Xbox Series X was released in December 2019 and Microsoft seems to be embarking on everything with its Netflix-style service, Game Pass, a fairly genius play that considered the movie and music brands – first party games that day someone released can make their Trump card worth their games.

The announced games Halo Infinite, Hellblade 2: Senua & # 39; s Saga, Project: MARA, and Everwild all show incredible promise. When we look at the Xbox July event, we can really see if Xbox is back in the game or if they intend to sleep next to their rivals. I hope they can pull it back. I believe Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft need each other to flourish and to pay Xbox out of the game this early would be a mistake.

By reader Jay Johnson

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