20 years later, we're four console generations deep into Xbox's lifespan. Each has one-upped the last with new graphics, bigger games and a wealth of new features. It's been a rollercoaster ride, and Xbox is now perhaps in the best position it's ever been in.
That being said, everyone has their era they gravitate more towards. Whether it's the nostalgic multiplayer days of the Xbox 360 or the current glory of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Series X|S - there's a generation for everyone. What's yours?
Let's take a look back at the four Xbox consoles we're dealing with:
It all began back in 2001 with Microsoft's first stab at the Xbox brand. Competing against heavy hitters such as the goliath that was the PlayStation 2, and the smaller but still beloved GameCube, a lot was going against it. Thankfully, it managed to find a strong and loyal fanbase, which committed to the brand and nurtured the early days of Xbox Live.
It was also home to some pretty incredible exclusives, kickstarting franchises we still see today. Halo is the biggest one, but the original Xbox also introduced us to Fable, Project Gotham Racing and Fuzion Frenzy.
Alongside these great titles, third-party exclusive support was also fairly substantial. Games such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath ushered in a varied and excited audience of players. It was an incredible start to the brand and one that would only get better.
The Xbox 360 era is when things truly kicked in, with online multiplayer and communication becoming a staple of the gaming world. Xbox nailed it over the years, and many of us hold nostalgic memories towards the console, such as coming home after school to boot up Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
It was a generation that also built upon everything found in the original Xbox's lifespan. Halo made huge waves with Halo 3 - a title that is often cited as the best in the franchise and a huge milestone for multiplayer gaming. Others, such as Fable 2, continued their respective franchises in amazing new ways.
But it wasn't all just more of the same. The Xbox 360 ushered in major new franchises, which again, have become staples of Xbox's library. Gears of War, Forza Horizon, Crackdown - the list goes on. There were even franchises that stayed within the generation but have become classics in their own right, much like Viva Pinata and its sequel. If that wasn't enough, Xbox 360 players also had huge JRPGs grace the system, for example, the incredible Blue Dragon and Eternal Sonata. It was a golden age for Xbox players and as such, made a huge impact in many gamers' lives.
Moving into the Xbox One era, this is where things started getting a bit rocky. After a pretty disastrous launch that tarnished the brand for a long time, Microsoft slowly brought the momentum back thanks to the leadership of Phil Spencer. It was a dark time for Xbox, but luckily one that we can push into the past.
It wasn't all bad. In fact, despite the early negative press, there's a ton to celebrate. Throughout the generation, we saw the introduction of backwards compatibility and of course, Xbox Game Pass. Two fantastic additions to the Xbox ecosystem and features that separated the Xbox One from the competition.
There's also the argument that the Xbox One had "no exclusives", but we beg to differ. Throughout the entire generation, we saw incredible titles added. Sunset Overdrive, Sea of Thieves, Ori and the Blind Forest, Quantum Break, Forza Horizon 4, Gears 5 - the list goes on. It's an incredible achievement and a fantastic comeback story. The journey has paved a way for Xbox to shine, and with the next generation, it seems that may be the case.
Xbox Series X|S
Last, but certainly not least, is the Xbox Series X|S - the current-gen goliaths. While the consoles launched with no real exclusives, this has been the least of Microsoft's worries. 2021 has been incredible for Xbox, introducing an array of fantastic Xbox Game Pass titles and FPS Boosts to many beloved games.
The transition into this gen has been seamless, with additions such as Smart Delivery bringing ease of access to games and much more. Combined with the incredible graphics, super-fast SSD and lovely tweaks to the controller, this is probably the best Xbox has ever been.
Even the first year of titles has been fairly exceptional, despite being mainly third-party. Opening with incredible games such as Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Yakuza: Like A Dragon, it's only gotten better with first-party titles such as Psychonauts 2 arriving day one into Xbox Game Pass. Now, with the launch of the superb Forza Horizon 5, and Halo Infinite just around the corner, the fun is only just getting started...
Which generation of Xbox is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
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