The Xbox 360 turns 10 today; it’s up into the big double digits, and up until a couple of years ago it was still the current generation. Over the 7 years it had as the lead Xbox console, it had plenty of games, its fair share of different iterations, and even a brief foray into motion gaming. The first thing that I’m sure a lot of you are thinking though is “Has it really been that long?”
Originally announced way back in 2005, the Xbox 360 made its debut on MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed. This was a reveal that was hosted by Elijah Wood, had guests including Lil Jon, and even a musical performance from The Killers. It was certainly an event of the times and luckily it’s still available to watch if you want to see all the hype surrounding the launch ten years ago.
The original Xbox 360 entry level came with a composite cable for Standard Definition output, no internal memory for storing games, and even came with the wired Xbox 360 controller. If you wanted to have 20GB storage, a wireless controller, ethernet cable and component cable, then that was an extra $100 US. Since the core and pro versions, there have been plenty of different versions including the Arcade, Elite, Slim and with the launch of the Xbox One there was even an Xbox 360 e designed to look somewhat similar to the Xbox One. Even though all Xbox 360 games could be played on every edition of the console, there were certain advantages that came with the later versions, such as wireless without the need of an adapter or even going from having no on board game storage to 320 GB.
It wasn’t just the physical box that was changing too, the dashboard has gone through plenty of different iterations. Over the life cycle of the Xbox 360 there were many different dashboards, beginning with blades. The dashboard gave the player the ability to change the way that their Xbox would look when it booted up, from colors to premium themes it was a way to make your console your own. Blades gave you four different categories to slide through: System, Media, Games, Xbox Live and Marketplace.
In 2008 there was a change from shifting left and right to up and down with the New Xbox Experience, or NXE. You would get all of the same categories but it would all be laid out a bit differently. This was one of the first big changes to happen from dashboard to dashboard. The Kinect Dashboard in 2010 kept the same layout style as the 2008 with the majority of changes including support for HDD’s, new apps and Kinect support. Then in 2011 there was a big change to the new “Metro” style interface to have the design of the Xbox 360 line up with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 7. From the very first Blades to what we have now, it’s crazy to think how different the Xbox 360 is now than it was 10 years ago.
At the launch of the Xbox 360 there were 18 titles that were available to pick up. These included titles like Call of Duty 2, FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, Kameo: Elements of Power, Perfect Dark Zero, and Quake 4. All of these were strong games in their own right, and now with the Backwards Compatibility update for the Xbox One you can play games like Kameo or Perfect Dark Zero on the new generation.
One of the astounding things about the long life cycle of the Xbox 360 is that even though there was practically no change in the hardware, the increase in quality of games is incredible to see. If you were to show someone in 2005 that the console that they had sitting in front of them would be able to play a game like Halo 4 or Grand Theft Auto 5 in almost a decade, they would probably laugh you out of the room.
It’s incredible to think that it has been so long since the initial launch of the Xbox 360, and we’re already well into the 8th generation of consoles. It will be interesting to look back in a further 10 years to look at where the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 are now and will be even stranger to look back at the 360 once more and see how much has changed.
When did you get your Xbox 360? What was your favorite memory with it? Any stand out games that you’re just yearning to go back and play?