The PS4 isn’t the only console celebrating a birthday today, as 17 years ago the original Xbox hit store shelves! Releasing all the way back in November of 2001, the Xbox was a huge departure from Microsoft’s PC-only focus. Intent on challenging Sony’s dominance of the living room, the hardware in the Xbox was built to impress. Powered by an impressive, for a console anyway, 733 MHz Pentium III processor, custom Nvidia GPU, 64 MB of DDR RAM and, for the first time as console standard, a built in 8-10 GB HDD. This truly was the most powerful console in existence! The team behind the Xbox even took the gamble to only include an Ethernet port in an age when the vast majority of players were still using dial up to access online functions.
Launching with stellar games like Halo: Combat Evolved, Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey, Dead or Alive 3, Project Gotham Racing and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2x, really let the Xbox come out of the gate swinging. Within a year the Xbox received its most notable feature in Xbox Live, the first online experience for consoles that really connected players together. The service was so successful that Sony would even implement many of its features into their then next-gen PS3. Throughout the rest of its life the Xbox would be home to many killer titles like Halo 2, Splinter Cell, Fable, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Ninja Gaiden as well as ports of PC juggernauts Half-Life 2 and Doom 3. In the end the Xbox would not match the PS2 in sales, but due to its innovations and successful gambles, Xbox was able to establish itself as a recognizable brand that persists today. Happy birthday Xbox!