The next generation of Microsoft’s Xbox gaming console will have its official debut later this month, and it’s hard to believe it’s been just over 13 years since Bill Gates announced the very first system’s arrival.
We still don’t have any official word on what the new Xbox will be called or exactly how Microsoft is planning to make the system the new must-have console, but we do know there’s been no shortage of highs, lows, and Halo-filled moments keeping things interesting for Xbox fans over the last decade or so.
In order to provide some additional perspective on what it has taken to get to this point in the evolution of the Xbox, we’ve compiled a brief history of Microsoft’s celebrated consoles.
The Early Years
The notion that Microsoft should develop its own gaming console began gaining traction way back in 1998, with Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley, Otto Berkes, and Ted Hase forming the software giant’s first console team after successfully pitching their idea to Bill Gates. Originally dubbed the “DirectX Box,” the console was intended to be the first game system built like a PC and to bring all of the flexibility and power of a gaming rig to the console market. The system would run on Windows 2000, making it easy for traditional PC software developers to work within the console’s architecture, and feature more than twice the processing power of the industry-leading PlayStation 2. Despite the marketing team’s belief that the abbreviated “Xbox” name wouldn’t fly, the label went over well with focus groups, providing the company with one of the final elements it needed to pull back the curtain on its creation: a catchy name.
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