Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is the second generation video game console produced by Microsoft. It was released on November 22, 2005 in the US and Canada, on December 2, 2005 in Europe, and December 10, 2005 in Japan. In the first year of the system’s release, it was sold in 36 countries; it has sold over 77 million units worldwide.

Several versions of the Xbox 360 were released. The original Xbox 360 Premium 20 GB was released in November 2005 and discontinued July 13, 2008. The Xbox 360 Elite 120 GB was released April 29, 2007 and discontinued June 19, 2010. On August 1, 2008, a 60 GB unit was released; it was discontinued on August 28, 2009. On October 27, 2007, the Xbox 360 Arcade was released, it was discontinued on June 19, 2010. On August 3, 2010, the Xbox 360 S 4 GB was released.

The successor to the Xbox 360 is the Xbox One, announced on May 21, 2013.

The system uses either DVDs, CDs, or downloads for game play. It has a 3.2 Ghz CPU; 512 MB RAM; 500 Mhz for graphics; 20, 60, 120, 250, or 320 GB external hard drives used for storage; and an analog stereo featuring an HDMI link. The original models featured a wireless connection, 3 USB and Ethernet. The revised models featured a wireless connection, 5 USB and Ethernet.

The 360 could play 478 of the original Xbox games. As of June 6, 2013, there are 959 game titles available for the 360.

At launch there were 14 games in North America and 13 games in Europe. The bestselling game with 18 million sold was Kinect Adventures.

Some Accessories for the Xbox 360 include: Wired and wireless Controllers, custom faceplates, headsets, web cam, dance mats, and memory units with 5 sizes of hard drives.

Kinect is an accessory for the 360 released on November 4 , 2010. It could be used with all 360 models and allows the user to interact with the game using gestures, spoken commands and presenting objects.

Some software included in the system include: dashboard, which allowed the user to view Xbox Live messages, friends list, personal music settings, and voice or video chat. This software has been updated several times with enhanced multimedia capabilities and bug fixes. These updates are mandatory for use with Xbox Live.

New Xbox Experience (NXE) was an update on November 19, 2008 that allows users to install games from a disc directly into the hard drive for faster load times and less disc noise. It also has a built-in Community system to create digital Avatars for sharing photos or playing Arcade style games. This update required at least a 128 MB memory card or hard drive.

Xbox 360 multimedia formats include WMV, H.264 and MPEG-4. A December 2007 update supports MPEG-4 ASP playback. The 360 can display pictures and slideshows with various effects. It has audio playback with the music player which the user can also play their own music while playing games.

Music, photos and videos can be played using a USB connection to many devices like memory cards, external storage devices and computers or servers.

The XNA community is a feature that allows 360 owners to receive community-created games made with Microsoft XNA Game Studio. The games are delivered through Xbox Live.

Services for the Xbox 360 include:

Xbox Live allows users to create a user profile, join message boards, access Xbox Live Arcade, Xbox Marketplace and talk to other Xbox Live members. This is a free service, but a paid version is Xbox Live Gold.

Xbox Live Marketplace is a service that allows user of Xbox Live to download purchased or promotional content, including movie and game trailers, game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games and Xbox 360 Dashboard themes. Add-on game content can also be downloaded like items, costumes, extra levels, etc. It is available for both Xbox Live and Live Gold members. A hard drive or memory unit is required to store the purchased products.

Xbox Live Arcade is a service that distributes downloadable video games to Xbox and Xbox 360 owners. It also offers classic arcade games as well as newer original games. In addition, games from other consoles may be purchased for download to the 360. It was launched on November 3, 2004.

Xbox Video is a service released on November 22, 2006 that allows users to download television shows and movies onto the Xbox 360. Movies can be rented for 14 days or for 24 hours after the movie is played, whichever comes first. Television shows may be purchased to own.

Xbox Music is a service giving users access to over 30 million music tracks by purchase or by subscription.

Xbox Smart Glass allows users to integrate between the Xbox 360 and mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Image Caption: An Xbox 360 Elite and an Xbox 360 S with standard black wireless controller. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia