Among the big name game consoles Microsoft’s Xbox brand has been around the least amount of time. Despite not making game consoles in the 80’s and 90’s Microsoft is still come a very long way and the story of Microsoft hardware is a very interesting one. With that in mind i’m happy to bring you my article about who invented the Xbox.
All the way back in 1998 Microsoft had just finished collaborating with Sega to create the Dreamcast.
Who invented the xbox?
Microsoft provided a Windows CE development environment and the DirectX API to make development on the Dreamcast easier then ever before. But just as the Nintendo PlayStation brought Sony a heavy hitter into the console market, in a completely unintended fashion, Sega’s Dreamcast did the exact same thing with Microsoft. Almost immediately after finished working on Dreamcast four engineers from Microsoft’s DirectX team, which included Seamus Blackley, Kevin Bachus, Ted Hase under the direction of team leader Otto Berkes quiet simple got bit by the game console bug.
Who invented the xbox?
Whether it was working on the Dreamcast and seen how games can be fun on a console that did it or even purely business motives i don’t know, the Sony PlayStation 2 was luring developers away from windows and was kind of a threat. And being all these people were on the DirectX team which essentially is the thing that powers most of Windows gaming one might understand why they might want people not to be lured away from the computer or at least DirectX technologies. So they all thought it would be good if Microsoft made a game console. So how do you do that when you don’t have a console engineering team? Well, believe it or not these four engineers actually disassembled some Dell laptop computers and reassemble them together to create their prototype.
When was xbox invented?
But i sincerely doubt this small team had any idea that this Frankenstein’s monster of a console was about to take the world by storm. This team of four approached Ed Fries, who was the leader of Microsoft’s game publishing division at the time and showed him their vision for a direct Xbox. Now think about that. This was a game console, four people made out of mass market components without authorization, without asking anyone, probably not on company time given it was a private project to start with. And really, if you consider other similar projects to that in other companies by all accounts really shouldn’t have been made. But Ad Fries was not a dummy. He saw some serious potential and said -“Let’s do this”.
During development the direct Xbox team decided that they should shorten the name to Xbox. The marketing department thought that name was really stupid. And what i say i don’t mean i’m exaggerating that. I mean during focus testing they put the Xbox name on the list of possible names literally to prove a point out of spite they kept their name on there to try to tell the development team that this was a bad name. It was them that looked pretty stupid at the end when the focus testing revealed that consumers much prefer the name Xbox to literally anything else they came up with which probably resulted in a great big bluff from the four original team members especially. So after a great many delays, on November 15, 2001 the Microsoft Xbox debutante on consumer market.
The first Xbox
The first Xbox ran on a custom version of the Intel Pentium 3 copper mine base processor running at 733Mhz. It ran on a shared graphics memory subsystem with 64 Mb of DDR SDRAM at 200Mhz and had a GPU that Microsoft co developed with NVIDIA called the env2 233Mhz ASIC chip. It had old school hard drive in it which came either 8Gb or 10Gb. Pretty big for the time. Actually that ran at 5400rpms. It ran on the FAT X file system which you actually don’t really typically see a lot of then or now. It did take 32 Mb memory cards even have to, because it could save your games to the hard drive. And unless you want to take a safe to a friend’s house or something i can’t really see why you would have used it. Although the times were very different and non of us really thought about this as “Hey, that’s probably one of the best reasons to have a hard drive”.
With the PlayStation 2 needed a network adapter in order to plugin to even Ethernet Xbox headed built in. Which considering everything at the time was pretty amazing and is actually one of the biggest reasons why the Xbox console became so big.
Who invented the xbox?