Launched on the 22nd November 2005, The XBox 360 turns a decade old today.
Just one day after the Nintendo Super Famicom turned 25 we’re reminded once more of how quickly time flies as Microsoft‘s XBox 360 celebrates ten years since its market debut. First released in north America on the 22nd November 2005 the XBox 360 is a seventh generation console that formed direct competition to Sony‘s Playstation 3 and Nintendo‘s Wii.
Upon launch the console proved to be in short supply throughout north America, and subsequently across Europe where the 360 hit stores in early December. The shortage of supply is reported to be due to Microsoft only beginning production of units sixty nine days before the scheduled launch date. The rush to produce consoles to meet demand may also go some way towards explaining a widespread problem with the 360, damningly referred to as the ‘Red Ring of Death‘. Users found that original XBox 360 units were susceptible to overheating that rendered the machine useless. The problem would be indicated by red lights illuminating around three quarters of the power supply. Microsoft were forced to extend the hardware warranty for the first iteration of the console to three years, such was the frequency of the fault. Later remodelled versions of the 360 seem to be rarely affected by the problem.
Despite the reliability issues with the machine the Xbox 360 upped the game in terms of turning a games console into a media centre with the new and improved XBox Live service that allowed, not only online gaming, but also the ability to download or stream movies, TV and music whilst allowing for upgrades and improvements to increase the longevity of the service.
By the end of 2005 around 1.5 million units had been sold with over 80 million shifting worldwide in total since then. Incredibly, as with the original XBox, the XBox 360 never took off in Japan where only 1.5 million units are reported to have sold between 2005 and 2011, half a million less than its predecessor.
Console rivalry between Sony‘s Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 was never as hotly contested as other generations. Whilst the PS3 struggled with a lack of big titles during its formative years it later gained sales parity with the 360 that boasted an impressive line up of first and third party software support from launch, prominently the ever popular Halo series. It’s worth noting that the Nintendo Wii outsold both without ever receiving the same level of kudos as the PS3 or 360 with gamers, mostly due to its lack of third party support and absence of serious titles.
Ten years on the XBox 360 still receives support and remains many gamers primary console following the launch of the XBox One.