Microsoft is at it again this summer with another press conference to reveal their upcoming games, and updates on what is in development already. It is noted to be one of the biggest showcases to date, with ALL Xbox studios rumored to be showing at least one game (yes that includes Bethesda). It’s been a trek to get Xbox where it is today, with many ups and downs through the years. Ahead of their big showcase, we decided to rank the Xbox consoles, starting with the worst and leading to the best.
- Xbox One / Xbox One X
Microsoft was on the right path after the end of the Xbox 360 life cycle. They understood they needed games to stay on top, so they bought a bunch of studios. They knew their platform was bigger than just games and wanted to evolve. They wanted to make a platform that was easily accessible for developers, so they put out a more powerful machine than their competitors…Then they crashed and burned.
The infamous reveal of Xbox One included an entire presentation for everything but games. Not to mention the PR disaster of the “always online” aspect. Gamers never forgot that terrible first impression and Microsoft didn’t help matters as they went several years without any notable major releases (beyond their standard cycle of Halo/Forza/Gears). Several studios ceased to exist and the Xbox plan dwindled.
This all came on the heels of Microsoft destroying Sony for releasing the PS3 at an extremely high price, with two different models that confused consumers as the time; only for them to do exactly the same thing by releasing the Xbox at a higher price bundled with the not-so-fan-friendly Kinect.
Nothing for Xbox One went as planned, and a majority of the initial features were canceled or removed over the lifetime of the console. Microsoft couldn’t stop production soon enough, they were getting blown away by the competition in every area. That is until Phil Spencer took over and steered the ship, leading to a later Xbox console on this list.
- Xbox 360
Despite its well-documented success, I debated putting 360 dead last for one simple reason: it was a broken mess. Everyone who’s ever touched an Xbox knows what the Red Ring of Death is, and it sucks. Microsoft refused to acknowledge it for the longest time, even though they were working on ways to fix the issue behind the scenes.
Everything else about the 360 was rather great. It had some of the best games, and was very easy to develop for compared to the PlayStation 3—which still struggles to this day to provide backwards compatible titles.
Xbox 360 was doing so many things right. It got Microsoft in the living room and made Xbox an overall media hub, and the console kept gaming at the forefront. Microsoft utilized this time to buy new studios and push gamers forward. The simple fact, however, is not being able to play your Xbox (because of the Red Ring issue) totally mars this generation of Xbox. While Xbox led in numbers, probably from people simply just buying a new console, they started to fall behind in gaming near the end of the generation.
- Original Xbox
It’s hard to beat the original. The first Xbox was a project the Direct X team took and put their whole hearts into. They had to work uphill against not only competitors, but Microsoft executives as well, since gaming wasn’t a big deal within the company. They had to find a way to separate themselves from the other consoles, while also proving it was a viable venture for the company. They did that by bringing a robust controller, a built-in hard drive, faster processing, and an easier-to-work with architecture. They basically slapped a PC into a small box that would fit right in the living room.
Then there was Xbox Live, which flipped the entire industry on its head and pushed Xbox to become leaders of online gaming. Who knew an ethernet port would be one of the biggest features of the console? It was simply a great breaking in point for Microsoft in every way possible. And that’s not to mention some of the amazing games from the original console, including Halo, Fable, and even Oddworld.
This is what happens when a team truly dedicated to improving an industry as a way to break in does just that, and they laid a basis down for future generations of not just Microsoft, but competing consoles as well.
1 Xbox Series X
After the flub that was the Xbox One (and the barren period of time with no exclusives on the Xbox One X), it seemed Xbox was finally getting things together thanks to the likes of Phil Spencer. The Xbox ship was steered in the right direction and Microsoft made some rather large asset purchases to create a robust (future) lineup of games. Microsoft has been careful to ensure gamers are first and foremost in both their products and messaging. This is especially true for their accessibility program ensuring everyone, no matter disabilities, can enjoy gaming.
Xbox Series X (not Series S) is the accumulation of everything Microsoft wanted to do with Xbox. It’s a central hub for the living room, it’s the most powerful console on the market, and soon it will have an extremely enticing exclusive line up consisting of not only Xbox studio games, but Bethesda as well. Plus over recent years it appears Microsoft is the only major game maker dedicated to “living” in a gamers world. The past few E3’s, or summer showcases, basically only existed because Microsoft continued to provide big showcases for fans. Sony and Nintendo both switched to rather lame pre-made live streaming events.
Not only all that, but Xbox is once again pioneering the game industry with GamePass. This service is shaking up how gamers access and play games. A whole bunch of games for a moderate price? Sign me up! Now that competitors are taking notice and trying to implement their own services, we might be watching Xbox create history yet again, just like it did with Xbox Live.
Microsoft has gone on a great adventure with Xbox. I didn’t include “sub” consoles (Xbox One X, and Xbox Series S) because I felt these were just extensions of what the standard console was already doing. There was a down period of Xbox with Xbox One, and the dreaded red ring of death ruined an otherwise great console generation, but we saw potentially one of the fastest turnarounds we may ever witness with Series X.
Let us know, does nostalgia and classic games of the original Xbox out play the Series X new technology? Does the Red Ring not destroy the history of 360?