A Brief Xbox History

Read about Xbox history. Microsoft's Xbox 360 console is the oldest of the current generation of video game consoles. It launched in November 2005, nearly a year before its competitors released the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 3. This early release makes the Xbox 360 the clear leader in game titles, with nearly 1,000 available.

The Xbox360 lacks the Blu-ray support of the PlayStation 3 and the innovative controls of the Nintendo Wii, but it's still a powerful gaming console that produces high-definition graphics and features one of the most robust online gaming networks. These features, along with exclusive titles like Halo 3, have combined to make the Xbox 360 the console of choice for serious gamers.

Choose Your Xbox 360 Console
While Microsoft's Xbox 360 is a single-core system at its heart, you can choose from several console configurations to customize it. The Xbox 360 Arcade is the basic system, which comes with 256MB of storage, a wireless controller, a standard A/V cable and compatibility with all Xbox 360 games. The Xbox 360 Arcade is the best choice for the budget-conscious consumer who only wants to play Xbox 360 games.

The next step up is the Xbox 360 Premium, which comes with a wireless controller, a hard drive with 20GB of storage, a headset, a network cable, a standard/HD A/V cable and compatibility with more than 300 original Xbox games in addition to all Xbox 360 games. This model is the most popular Xbox 360, with all the equipment you need to play games online with friends, download additional content and enjoy high-definition gaming on an HDTV.

The high-end choice is the Xbox 360 Elite, which features a sleek, black case with matching black wireless controller and headset. With 120GB of storage and the included HDMI cable, the Xbox 360 Elite offers the best possible high-definition Xbox experience and plenty of drive space to store music, game saves and downloads.

Xbox Live
As with all of the current generation of video game consoles, the Xbox 360 features an online component: Xbox Live. Xbox Live includes three distinct components: Xbox Live Marketplace, Xbox Video Marketplace and Xbox Live Arcade.

The Xbox Live Marketplace is a place where users download game-related content, including game demos, additional levels and characters, game trailers and Xbox 360 dashboard and gamercard accessories. The Xbox Video Marketplace hosts movies and television shows for users to download, and these generally expire within 14 days of downloading or 24 hours after the content is viewed. Video content is available in both HD and SD formats and offers 5.1 surround-sound audio.

The Xbox Live Arcade offers downloadable video games, including classic arcade games, new original games and games from other console systems. The games in Xbox Live Arcade are generally geared toward a more casual gaming audience, and generally offer no comparison to the titles available for the Xbox 360.

Xbox Live offers both free and paid-membership subscriptions. The free subscription service, called Xbox Silver, allows users to access Xbox Live Marketplace and Live Arcade and exchange messages with other users. Xbox Silver users are generally unable to play games with other players online, except in limited cases where games feature their own subscription service.

In order to play games online via Xbox Live, users must have a paid Xbox Gold subscription, which costs $49.99 annually. Both Xbox Silver and Xbox Gold members pay to download much of the Xbox Live content using Microsoft Points, which can be purchased with a credit card. The cost varies based on the content, anywhere from $0.99 per item up to $15 or more.

Xbox 360 Accessories
Every serious gamer knows that the system is just the starting point for your gaming needs. Accessories add functionality and give gamers fun ways to interact with friends and game buddies. Microsoft has not forgotten the craze for accessories, providing users everything from customizable faceplates (to make your Xbox 360 stand out) to a wireless networking adaptor if you don't want to run network cable to your router in order to connect to Xbox Live. People who watch movies and video on the Xbox 360 will want the Launch Remote. If racing games are your niche, you'll appreciate the Wireless Racing Wheel, complete with brake and acceleration pedals. For the gamer who wants to talk to his buddies while coordinating a complicated in-game strike, the wireless headset offers easy interaction without having to worry about getting tangled up.

To have video conferences or exchange photo messages with friends and family, check out Xbox Live Vision, a live video camera designed specifically for the Xbox 360. If you want to take your Xbox Live account information and game saves to play with your friends, invest in an Xbox 360 Memory Unit.

Xbox History and Xbox 360 Games
The biggest draw for Xbox 360 gamers is the selection of nearly 1,000 game titles. While the order varies, most serious gamers agree that the top five games for the Xbox 360 are Gears of War, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto 4 and BioShock. While these games vary in style and gameplay, they all have eye-catching graphics, immersive storylines and good replay value.If these games aren't exactly your style, check out popular racing titles like Burnout, the Harmonix hit, Rock Band, which lets you compete with a series of musical instrument controllers including a guitar and a drum kit, or The Orange Box, a package deal including a variety of games. No matter what your gaming style, once you learn your Xbox history you'll find a good selection of titles for your preferred game play with the Xbox 360.

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