Left: Original model Xbox 360 Premium (2005)
Center: Redesigned slim model Xbox 360 S (2010)
Right: Latest model Xbox 360 E (2013)
|Manufacturer||Flextronics, Wistron, Celestica, Foxconn|
|Type||Home video game console|
November 22, 2005
Xbox 360 S
Xbox 360 E
|Discontinued||WW: April 20, 2016|
|Units sold||Worldwide: 84 million (2014-06-09) (details)|
|Media||HD DVD (discontinued)|
|Operating system||Xbox 360 system software|
|CPU||3.2 GHz PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon|
|Memory||512 MB of GDDR3 RAM clocked at 700 MHz|
Video output formats
|Graphics||500 MHz ATI Xenos|
Controllers 4 maximum* (any combination):
|Online services||Xbox Live|
|Best-selling game||Kinect Adventures! (24 million as pack-in game for Kinect)|
|461 original Xbox games (requires hard drive and the latest update)|
The Xbox 360 is a home video game console developed by Microsoft. As the successor to the original Xbox, it is the second console in the Xbox series. It competed with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information announced later that month at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The Xbox 360 features an online service, Xbox Live, which was expanded from its previous iteration on the original Xbox and received regular updates during the console's lifetime. Available in free and subscription-based varieties, Xbox Live allows users to: play games online; download games (through Xbox Live Arcade) and game demos; purchase and stream music, television programs, and films through the Xbox Music and Xbox Video portals; and access third-party content services through media streaming applications. In addition to online multimedia features, it allows users to stream media from local PCs. Several peripherals have been released, including wireless controllers, expanded hard drive storage, and the Kinect motion sensing camera. The release of these additional services and peripherals helped the Xbox brand grow from gaming-only to encompassing all multimedia, turning it into a hub for living-room computing entertainment.
Launched worldwide across 2005–2006, the Xbox 360 was initially in short supply in many regions, including North America and Europe. The earliest versions of the console suffered from a high failure rate, indicated by the so-called "Red Ring of Death", necessitating an extension of the device's warranty period. Microsoft released two redesigned models of the console: the Xbox 360 S in 2010, and the Xbox 360 E in 2013. As of June 2014, 84 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold worldwide, making it the sixth-highest-selling video game console in history, and the highest-selling console made by an American company. Although not the best-selling console of its generation, the Xbox 360 was deemed by TechRadar to be the most influential through its emphasis on digital media distribution and multiplayer gaming on Xbox Live.
The Xbox 360's successor, the Xbox One, was released on November 22, 2013. On April 20, 2016, Microsoft announced that it would end the production of new Xbox 360 hardware, although the company will continue to support the platform.
The main unit of the Xbox 360 itself has slight double concavity in matte white or black. The official color of the white model is Arctic Chill. It features a port on the top when vertical (left side when horizontal) to which a custom-housed hard disk drive unit can be attached.
On the Slim and E models, the hard drive bay is on the bottom when vertical (right side when horizontal) and requires the opening of a concealed door to access it. (This does not void the warranty.) The Xbox 360 Slim/E hard drives are standard 2.5" SATA laptop drives, but have a custom enclosure and firmware so that the Xbox 360 can recognize it.
Various hard disk drives have been produced, including options at 20, 60, 120, 250, or 320 GB. Inside, the Xbox 360 uses the triple-core IBM designed Xenon as its CPU, with each core capable of simultaneously processing two threads, and can therefore operate on up to six threads at once. Graphics processing is handled by the ATI Xenos, which has 10 MB of eDRAM. Its main memory pool is 512 MB in size.
Many accessories are available for the console, including both wired and wireless controllers, faceplates for customization, headsets for chatting, a webcam for video chatting, dance mats and Gamercize for exercise, three sizes of memory units and five sizes of hard drives (20, 60, 120, 250 (initially Japan only, but later also available elsewhere) and 320 GB), among other items, all of which are styled to match the console.
Kinect is a "controller-free gaming and entertainment experience" for the Xbox 360. It was first announced on June 1, 2009 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, under the codename, Project Natal. The add-on peripheral enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without a game controller by using gestures, spoken commands and presented objects and images. The Kinect accessory is compatible with all Xbox 360 models, connecting to new models via a custom connector, and to older ones via a USB and mains power adapter. During their CES 2010 keynote speech, Robbie Bach and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer went on to say that Kinect will be released during the holiday period (November–January) and work with every 360 console. It was released on November 4, 2010
- HDMI (only made after 2007)
- S/PDIF (only Slim)
- Stereo Audio, Composite Video - Jack 3.5 mm (only Slim E)
Through AV connector (excluding E models which have no AV connector)
The Xbox 360 (not Slim and E models) has been subject to a number of technical problems. Since the console's release in 2005, users have reported concerns over its reliability and failure rate.
To aid customers with defective consoles, Microsoft extended the Xbox 360's manufacturer's warranty to three years for hardware failure problems that generate a "General Hardware Failure" error report. A "General Hardware Failure" is recognized on all models released before the Xbox 360 S by three quadrants of the ring around the power button flashing red. This error is often known as the "Red Ring of Death". In April 2009 the warranty was extended to also cover failures related to the E74 error code. The warranty extension is not granted for any other types of failures that do not generate these specific error codes.
Since these problems surfaced, Microsoft has attempted to modify the console to improve its reliability. Modifications include a reduction in the number, size, and placement of components, the addition of dabs of epoxy on the corners and edges of the CPU and GPU as glue to prevent movement relative to the board during heat expansion, and a second GPU heatsink to dissipate more heat. With the release of the redesigned Xbox 360 S, the warranty for the newer models does not include the three-year extended coverage for "General Hardware Failures". The newer Xbox 360 S and E models indicate system overheating when the console's power button begins to flash red, unlike previous models where the first and third quadrant of the ring would light up red around the power button if overheating occurred. The system will then warn the user of imminent system shutdown until the system has cooled, whereas a flashing power button that alternates between green and red is an indication of a "General Hardware Failure" unlike older models where three of the quadrants would light up red.
The Xbox 360's original graphical user interface was the Xbox 360 Dashboard; a tabbed interface that featured five "Blades" (formerly four blades), and was designed by AKQA and Audiobrain. It could be launched automatically when the console booted without a disc in it, or when the disc tray was ejected, but the user had the option to select what the console does if a game is in the tray on start up, or if inserted when already on. A simplified version of it was also accessible at any time via the Xbox Guide button on the gamepad. This simplified version showed the user's gamercard, Xbox Live messages and friends list. It also allowed for personal and music settings, in addition to voice or video chats, or returning to the Xbox Dashboard from the game.
On November 19, 2008, the Xbox 360's dashboard was changed from the "Blade" interface, to a dashboard reminiscent of that present on the Zune and Windows Media Center, known as the "New Xbox Experience" or NXE.
Since the console's release, Microsoft has released several updates for the Dashboard software. These updates have included adding new features to the console, enhancing Xbox Live functionality and multimedia playback capabilities, adding compatibility for new accessories, and fixing bugs in the software. Such updates are mandatory for users wishing to use Xbox Live, as access to Xbox Live is disabled until the update is performed.
New Xbox Experience
At E3 2008, at Microsoft's Show, Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg and Marc Whitten announced the new Xbox 360 interface called the "New Xbox Experience" (NXE). The update was intended to ease console menu navigation. Its GUI uses the Twist UI, previously used in Windows Media Center and the Zune. Its new Xbox Guide retains all Dashboard functionality (including the Marketplace browser and disk ejection) and the original "Blade" interface (although the color scheme has been changed to match that of the NXE Dashboard).
The NXE also provides many new features. Users can now install games from disc to the hard drive to play them with reduced load time and less disc drive noise, but each game's disc must remain in the system in order to run. A new, built-in Community system allows the creation of digitized Avatars that can be used for multiple activities, such as sharing photos or playing Arcade games like 1 vs. 100. The update was released on November 19, 2008.
While previous system updates have been stored on internal memory, the NXE update was the first to require a storage device—at least a 128 MB memory card or a hard drive.
Microsoft released a further update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard starting on December 6, 2011. It included a completely new user interface which utilizes Microsoft's Metro design language, and added new features such as cloud storage for game saves and profiles, live television, Bing voice search, access to YouTube videos and better support for Kinect voice commands.
The Xbox 360 supports videos in Windows Media Video (WMV) format (including high-definition and PlaysForSure videos), as well as H.264 and MPEG-4 media. The December 2007 dashboard update added support for the playback of MPEG-4 ASP format videos. The console can also display pictures and perform slideshows of photo collections with various transition effects, and supports audio playback, with music player controls accessible through the Xbox 360 Guide button. Users may play back their own music while playing games or using the dashboard, and can play music with an interactive visual synthesizer.
Music, photos and videos can be played from standard USB mass storage devices, Xbox 360 proprietary storage devices (such as memory cards or Xbox 360 hard drives), and servers or computers with Windows Media Center or Windows XP with Service pack 2 or higher within the local-area network in streaming mode. As the Xbox 360 uses a modified version of the UPnP AV protocol, some alternative UPnP servers such as uShare (part of the GeeXboX project) and MythTV can also stream media to the Xbox 360, allowing for similar functionality from non-Windows servers. This is possible with video files up to HD-resolution and with several codecs (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMV) and container formats (WMV, MOV, TS).
As of October 27, 2009, UK and Ireland users are also able to access live and on-demand streams of Sky television programming.
At the 2007, 2008, and 2009 Consumer Electronics Shows, Microsoft had announced that IPTV services would soon be made available to use through the Xbox 360. In 2007, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stated that IPTV on Xbox 360 was expected to be available to consumers by the holiday season, using the Microsoft TV IPTV Edition platform. In 2008, Gates and president of Entertainment & Devices Robbie Bach announced a partnership with BT in the United Kingdom, in which the BT Vision advanced TV service, using the newer Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform, would be accessible via Xbox 360, planned for the middle of the year. BT Vision's DVR-based features would not be available on Xbox 360 due to limited hard drive capacity. In 2010, while announcing version 2.0 of Microsoft Mediaroom, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer mentioned that AT&T's U-verse IPTV service would enable Xbox 360s to be used as set-top boxes later in the year. As of January 2010, IPTV on Xbox 360 has yet to be deployed beyond limited trials.
In 2012, Microsoft released the Live Event Player, allowing for events such as video game shows, beauty pageants, award shows, concerts, news and sporting events to be streamed on the console via Xbox Live. The first live events streamed on Live were the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods, Microsoft's E3 2012 media briefing and the Miss Teen USA 2012 beauty pageant.
XNA Community is a feature whereby Xbox 360 owners can receive community-created games, made with Microsoft XNA Game Studio, from the XNA Creators Club. The games are written, published, and distributed through a community managed portal. XNA Community provides a channel for digital videogame delivery over Xbox Live that can be free of royalties, publishers and licenses. XNA game sales, however, did not meet original expectations, though Xbox Live Indie Games (XBLIG) has had some "hits."
PartnerNet, the developers-only alternative Xbox Live network used by developers to beta test game content downloads and games developed for Xbox Live Arcade, runs on Xbox 360 debug kits, which are used both by developers and by the gaming press. In a podcast released on February 12, 2007, a developer breached the PartnerNet non-disclosure agreement (NDA) by commenting that he had found a playable version of Alien Hominid and an unplayable version of Ikaruga on PartnerNet. A few video game journalists, misconstruing the breach of the NDA as an invalidation of the NDA, immediately began reporting on other games being tested via PartnerNet, including a remake of Jetpac. (Alien Hominid for the Xbox 360 was released on February 28 of that year, and Ikaruga was released over a year later on April 9, 2008. Jetpac was released for the Xbox 360 on March 28, 2007 as Jetpac Refuelled.) There have also been numerous video and screenshot leaks of game footage on PartnerNet, as well as a complete version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, which caused for the whole PartnerNet service to be shut down overnight on April 3, 2010. In the following days, Microsoft reminded developers and journalists that they were in breach of NDA by sharing information about PartnerNet content and asked websites to remove lists of games in development that were discovered on the service. Sega used feedback from fans about the leaked version of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I to refine it before they eventually released it.
Additionally, a pair of hackers played their modded Halo 3 games on PartnerNet in addition to using PartnerNet to scoop up unreleased and untested software. The duo passed their hacked Halo pics to their friends before they were eventually caught by Bungie engineers who left a message for the hackers on PartnerNet which read "Winners Don't Break Into PartnerNet.". Other games that were leaked in the PartnerNet fiasco include Shenmue and Shenmue 2.