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Video gaming brand created and owned by Microsoft

This article is about the "Xbox" brand. For the 2001 console, see Xbox (console). For other uses, see Xbox (disambiguation).

Xbox is a video gamingbrand created and owned by Microsoft. The brand consists of five video game consoles, as well as applications (games), streaming services, an online service by the name of Xbox network, and the development arm by the name of Xbox Game Studios. The brand was first introduced in the United States in November 2001, with the launch of the original Xbox console.

The original device was the first video game console offered by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996. It reached over 24 million units sold as of May 2006.[1] Microsoft's second console, the Xbox 360, was released in 2005 and has sold 86 million units as of October 2021. The third console, the Xbox One, was released in November 2013 and has sold 50 million units.[2] The fourth line of Xbox consoles, the Xbox Series X and Series S, were released in November 2020. The head of Xbox is Phil Spencer, who succeeded former head Marc Whitten in late March 2014.[3][4]


When Sony Computer Entertainment first announced the PlayStation 2 in 1999, the company had positioned the console as a centerpiece for home entertainment, as it not only would play video games, but also could play audio CDs and video DVDs. Microsoft, whose business had been primarily in supporting the personal computer (PC) business with its Windows operating system, software, and games, saw the PlayStation 2 as a threat to the personal computer.[5]

Four engineers from Microsoft's DirectX team—Kevin Bachus, Seamus Blackley, Ted Hase and DirectX team leader Otto Berkes, began to envision what a Microsoft console to compete against the PlayStation 2 would be like. They designed a system that would use many hardware components in common with PCs, effectively running a version of Windows and DirectX to power the games on the console.[6][5] This approach would make it easy for developers on Windows to build games for their new system, differentiating itself from the custom hardware solutions of most consoles.[7][8] Numerous names were suggested for this console, including "Direct X Box",[9] and the "Windows Entertainment Project".[10] Microsoft's marketing team conducted consumer surveys of the name, using the name "Xbox" as a control believing this would be least desirable, but found that this had the highest preference from their tests, and was selected as the name of the console.[11]


Microsoft has been recently working to leverage the branding of "Xbox" beyond the console hardware but as a general video game brand, reflected in the renaming of Microsoft Studios to Xbox Game Studios in 2019.[12][13] Phil Spencer had stated in June 2019 that for Microsoft, "The business isn’t how many consoles you sell. The business is how many players are playing the games that they buy, how they play." which journalists have taken as a route to de-emphasize console hardware and prioritize games, subscriptions and services for players.[14][15] Later in February 2020, Spencer said that moving forward, the company does not see "traditional gaming companies" like Nintendo and Sony as their competitors but instead those that offer cloud computing services such as Amazon and Google. Spencer identified that Microsoft Azure is a major component of their plans going forward, which powers its xCloud game streaming service.[16] Spencer also cited mobile gaming as a potential area, and where Microsoft was trying to position itself with its services should this become the more preferred form for gaming. Spencer said "I don't think it's 'hardware agnostic' as much as it's 'where you want to play'", in describing how Microsoft was strategizing the Xbox branding for the future.[17]


First generation: Xbox

Main article: Xbox (console)

Xbox console with "Controller S"

The original Xbox was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Australia and Europe. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market. As part of the sixth generation of video game consoles, the Xbox competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast (which stopped American sales before the Xbox went on sale), and Nintendo's GameCube. The Xbox was the first console offered by an American company after the Atari Jaguar stopped sales in 1996. The name Xbox was derived from a contraction of DirectX Box, a reference to Microsoft's graphics API, DirectX.[18][19]

The integrated Xbox Live service launched in November 2002 allowed players to play games online with or without a broadband connection.[20] It first competed with Dreamcast's online service but later primarily competed with PlayStation 2's online service. Although these two are free while Xbox Live required a subscription, as well as broadband-only connection which was not completely adopted yet, Xbox Live was a success due to better servers, features such as a buddy list, and milestone titles like Halo 2 released in November 2004, which is the best-selling Xbox video game and was by far the most popular online game for the system.

Second generation: Xbox 360

Main article: Xbox 360

Xbox 360 Elite, Right: Xbox 360 S and new-style controller

The Xbox 360 was released as the successor of the original Xbox in November 2005, competing with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. As of June 2014, 84 million Xbox 360 consoles have been sold worldwide.[21] The Xbox 360 was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information divulged later that month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The console sold out completely upon release in all regions except in Japan.[22][23][24] Several retail configurations of the core Xbox 360 model were offered over its lifetime, varying the amount of RAM and internal storage offered.

The Xbox 360 showed an expanded Xbox Live service (which now included a limited "Free" tier called Silver), the ability to stream multimedia content from PCs, while later updates added the ability to purchase and stream music, television programs, and films through the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services, along with access to third-party content services through third-party media streaming applications. Microsoft also released Kinect, a motion control system for the Xbox 360 which uses an advanced sensor system.

Two major revisions of the Xbox 360 were released following the initial launch. The Xbox 360 S (typically considered as "Slim"), launched in 2010, featured the same core hardware but with a redesigned, slimmer form factor with a smaller-sized 250 GB hard drive. It also added integrated 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, TOSLINKS/PDIF optical audio output, five USB 2.0 ports (compared to the three from older versions) and special port designed for the Kinect peripheral. The Xbox 360 S replaced the base Xbox 360 unit, which was discontinued, and sold at the same price.[25][26][27] A cheaper Xbox 360 S unit, removing the 250 GB drive while adding 4 GB of internal store, was released later in 2010; the unit allowed users to hook up an external storage solution or purchase a 250 GB internal add-on.

The second major revision of the Xbox 360 was the Xbox 360 E, released in 2013. It featured a case style similar to the upcoming Xbox One, and eliminated one USB port and the S/PDIF, YPbPr component and S-video connections, but otherwise shared the same specifications as the Xbox 360 S.

Third generation: Xbox One

Main article: Xbox One

The Xbox One with the redesigned Kinect and controller

The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013 in North America, as the successor of the Xbox 360. The Xbox One competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles.

Announced on May 21, 2013,[28] the Xbox One has an emphasis on internet-based features, including the ability to record and stream gameplay, and the ability to integrate with a set-top box to watch cable or satellite TV through the console with an enhanced guide interface and Kinect-based voice control.[29][30][31][32]

Following its unveiling, the Xbox One proved controversial for its original digital rights management and privacy practices; while Microsoft touted the ability for users to access their library of games (regardless of whether they were purchased physically or digitally) on any Xbox One console without needing their discs, and the ability to share their entire library with 10 designated "family" members, all games would have to be tied to the user's Xbox Live account and their Xbox One console, and the console would be required to connect to the Internet on a periodic basis (at least once every 24 hours) to synchronize the library, or else the console would be unable to play any games at all.[33][34] After an overwhelmingly negative response from critics and consumers (who also showed concerns that the system could prevent or hinder the resale of used games), Microsoft announced that these restrictions would be dropped.[35] Microsoft was also criticized for requiring the Xbox One to have its updated Kinect peripheral plugged in to function, which critics and privacy advocates believed could be used as a surveillance device. As a gesture toward showing a commitment to user privacy, Microsoft decided to allow the console to function without Kinect.[36][37][38]

On June 13, 2016, Microsoft announced the Xbox One S at E3 2016, which featured a smaller form factor, as well as support for 4K video (including streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray) and HDR.[39] At E3 2017, Microsoft unveiled Xbox One X, a high-end model with improved hardware designed to facilitate the playing of games at 4K resolution.[40]

Since November 2014, Microsoft has stated it will not release sales numbers for the Xbox One line.[41] Industry estimates project global sales of the Xbox One family to be about 50 million units.[2] Xbox head Phil Spencer said that while they do internally track sales figures, they do not want their developers to be focused on these numbers as to affect their products, and thus have opted not to report further sales of Xbox hardware going forward.[42]

Fourth generation: Xbox Series X and Series S

Main article: Xbox Series X and Series S

The Xbox Series X and the controller

The fourth generation of Xbox models, simply named Xbox,[43] includes the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S that launched on November 10, 2020. Both are considered members of the ninth generation of video game consoles alongside the PlayStation 5, also released that month.

The Xbox Series X and Series S are high- and low-end versions comparable to the Xbox One X and Xbox One S models, respectively, with all games designed for this model family playable on both systems. The Xbox Series X is estimated to be four times as powerful as Xbox One X, with support for 8K resolution and up to 120 frames-per-second rendering, with a nominal target of 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. The Xbox Series S is a digital-only unit with less graphic processing power, but can still render at a nominal 1440p resolution at 60 frames per second with support for 4K upscaling. Both consoles features support for new graphics rendering systems including real-time ray-tracing, and the new Xbox Velocity Architecture that works with the internal SSD drive to maximize the rate of texture streaming to the graphics processor, among other features. Besides games for this new console family, both consoles are fully compatible with all Xbox One games and most hardware, as well as all backward compatible games that were playable on the Xbox One from the Xbox 360 and original Xbox console.[44]

To help transition consumers, Microsoft introduced its Smart Delivery system which most of its first-party games and several third-party games will use to offer free updates to Xbox One versions of games to the Xbox Series X/S version over the first few years of the consoles' launch.[45][46]


The following table is a comparison of the four generations of Xbox hardware.

Xbox generation First Second Third Fourth
XboxXbox 360Xbox OneXbox One SXbox One XXbox Series SXbox Series X
Console Original XboxXbox 360Microsoft-Xbox-One-Console-wKinect.pngMicrosoft-Xbox-One-S-Console-wController-L.jpgXBOX ONE X Gamescom (36042607743).jpgXbox Series S with controller.jpgSeries X
Console launch price US$299.99 US$299.99
Further information: Xbox 360 launch#Release dates and pricing
  • US$499.99 (with Kinect)
  • US$399.99 (without Kinect)
  • US$299.99 (Xbox One S)
  • US$249.99 (Xbox One S All-Digital Edition)
US$499.99 US$299.99 US$499.99
Release date Further information: Xbox 360 launch#Release dates and pricingNovember 22, 2013[47]
  • Xbox One S: August 2, 2016
  • Xbox One S All-Digital Edition: May 7, 2019
November 7, 2017 November 10, 2020
  • JP: June 4, 2006
  • NA: March 2, 2009
  • EU: March 11, 2007
  • WW: July 16, 2020 (All-Digital Edition)
Units sold[a]24+ million (as of May 10, 2006)[1]84+ million (as of June 9, 2014[update])[21](details)50+ million (estimate, as of June 10, 2021[update])[2]6.5 million (estimate, as of June 30, 2021[update])[48]
Best-selling gameHalo 2, 8 million (as of May 9, 2006)[49][50]Kinect Adventures!(pack-in with Kinect peripheral), 24 million[51]

Best selling non-bundled game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, 14.23 million[52]

Call of Duty: Black Ops III, 7.24 million (As of October 16, 2016)[53][needs update?]N/A N/A
Media CD, DVD CD, DVD, HD DVD (movies only) with add-on drive, USB Drive with supported media, DLNA Servers[54]CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, USB Drive with supported media, DLNA Servers[54]CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UHD Blu-ray Disc, USB Drive with supported media, DLNA Servers[55]USB Drive with supported media, DLNA Servers CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UHD Blu-ray Disc, USB Drive with supported media, DLNA Servers
Accessories (retail)
  • Xbox Live Starter Kit
  • Xbox Media Center Extender
  • DVD Playback Kit
  • Xbox Music Mixer
  • Memory Unit (8 MB)
  • Logitech Wireless Controller (2.4 GHz)
  • More...

see Xbox 360 accessories

  • Media Remote
  • Stereo Headset Adapter
  • Official Stereo Headset
  • Digital TV Tuner (EU Only)
  • Play and Charge Kit

see Xbox One accessories

CPU 733 MHz x86 Intel Celeron/Pentium III Custom Hybrid CPU3.2 GHz IBM PowerPCtri-coreCPU codenamed "Xenon" 1.75 GHz AMD x86-64eight-coreCPU codenamed "Jaguar"[56]2.3 GHz semi-custom AMDx86-64 eight-core CPU code named "Jaguar Enhanced"[55]3.6 GHz custom AMDZen 2 eight-core CPU 3.8 GHz custom AMDZen 2 eight-core CPU[57]
GPU 233 MHz nVidia custom GeForce 3 NV2ADirectX 8.0 based GPU 500 MHz ATi custom Radeon X1800DirectX 9.0c based GPU codenamed "Xenos" 853 MHz AMDRadeon HD 7000 series DirectX 11.1, DirectX 12 based GPU codenamed "Durango" with 12 compute units 914 MHz AMDRadeon HD 7000 series DirectX 11.1, DirectX 12 based GPU codenamed "Edmonton" with 12 compute units 1172 MHz AMDGCNDirectX 11.1, DirectX 12 based GPU codenamed "Scorpio" with 40 compute units 1550 MHz AMD Custom RDNA 2DirectX 12 based GPU with 20 compute units[57]1825 MHz AMD Custom RDNA 2DirectX 12 based GPU with 52 compute units[57]
Memory 64 MB DDR SDRAM @ 200 MHz 6.4 GB/s 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM @ 700 MHz 22.4 GB/s, 10 MB EDRAM GPU frame buffer memory 8 GB of DDR3 RAM @ 2133 MHz 68.3 GB/s,[54] 32 MB ESRAM GPU frame buffer memory 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM @ 6.8 GHz 326 GB/s[55]10 GB of GDDR6 RAM: 8GB @ 244 GB/s, 2 GB @ 56 GB/s 16 GB of GDDR6 RAM; 10 GB @ 560 GB/s, 6 GB @ 336 GB/s[57]
Video I/O ports
Video resolution and features

Various monitor resolutions available via VGA and HDMI/DVI (640×480, 848×480, 1024×768, 1280×720, 1280×768, 1280×1024, 1360×768, 1440×900, 1680×1050 & 1920×1080)

Video codecs supported


  • 3GP video, 3GP2
  • AVI DivX, DV AVI, AVI uncompressed, asf, AVI Xvid
  • H.264 AVCHD, H.264 AVC, H.264 ASP
  • M-JPEG
  • .mkv, .mov
Audio I/O
Audio formats and features N/A N/A
Audio codecs supported


Online service Xbox Live (2002–10)
XLink Kai (2003–present)
Xbox Live
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live Marketplace
Xbox Live Vision (webcam), headset
Xbox Live Video Marketplace
Windows Live Messenger
Internet Explorer
VideoKinect (Kinect sensor is no longer needed)
Xbox Live
Xbox Store
Microsoft Store
Internet Explorer
Microsoft Edge
Xbox Live
Xbox Store
Microsoft Store
Microsoft Edge
Backward compatibility N/A 50% of Xbox LibrarySelect Xbox 360 and Xbox titles[58]
System software Xbox Music Mixer
DVD Playback Kit, Xbox Linux
see Xbox 360 system softwaresee Xbox One system software
System software features
  • DLNA server support
  • External hard drive (HD) support
Consumer programmability Via Softmods and/or modchips; Modified Windows CE 2.x, Linux. Development on PC with XNA Game Studio ($99/year subscription, binary distribution with XNA 1.0 Refresh).[61][email protected] and approved Microsoft Store; UWP apps.


Main articles: List of Xbox games, List of Xbox 360 games, List of Xbox One games, List of Xbox Series X and Series S games, List of Xbox Live Arcade games, List of Xbox Live Arcade Kinect games, List of Xbox Originals, List of Xbox 360 Games on Demand, List of Xbox System Link games, List of Xbox 360 System Link games, List of Xbox Live games on Windows 8.x, List of Xbox Live games on Windows 10, and List of Xbox Live games on Windows Phone

Each console has a variety of games. Most games released on the original Xbox are backwards compatible and can be played directly on its successor, Xbox 360. Backward compatibility with Xbox 360 titles was added to Xbox One in June 2015, although titles requiring Kinect or USB peripherals will not be supported.

Games using the Xbox and Xbox Live brands have also been released for Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, Android, and iOS devices. Xbox games can also be played using the Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service.


Microsoft has used the razor and blades model to sell the family of Xbox consoles, selling the console at or below the price of its manufacturing costs, while earning revenue from licensing fees it collects from publishers and developers and from its services offered to players.[62]

Xbox network

Main article: Xbox network

Xbox network (formely known as Xbox Live) is an online service with over 65 million users worldwide (as of July 2019).[63] It comprises an online virtual market, the Xbox Games Store, which allows the purchase and download of games and various forms of multimedia. Online gaming on the Xbox first started on November 15, 2002 worldwide. The service is still active and continues to be played by gamers.

Xbox Games Store

Main article: Xbox Games Store

Xbox Games Store is an online marketplace made for Microsoft's Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles. The marketplace is where you can buy games and movies through digital download.

Xbox SmartGlass

Main article: Xbox SmartGlass

Xbox SmartGlass is a companion application for Xbox 360 available for Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Phone, iOS, Android (version 4.0 and above),[64] and Windows Server 2012. It was announced by Microsoft during E3 2012 and released on October 26, 2012, coinciding with the release of Windows 8.[65] It connects with the Xbox 360 and allows more interactive entertainment, allowing mobile devices to potentially serve as second screens and remote controller. Currently[when?] Windows 8 and Windows RT Tablets and PCs, Windows Phone (7.5 and 8) iOS devices, and Android smartphones (4.x) are compatible with SmartGlass,[66] providing information such as Halo 4 stats and Forza Horizon GPS.[67] Users of Windows Server 2012 can currently download the application from the Windows Store after installing the Windows Desktop Experience feature in the Server Manager.[68]

Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming

Main article: Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming

Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming[69] (codenamed xCloud during development) is the Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming streaming service.

Content filter

In 2019, Microsoft released a content filtering to stop swearing and toxicity in online gaming. The service enable players to report messages, Gamertags, photos, and any other toxic content on its platform.[70]

Xbox Game Pass

Main article: Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service from Microsoft for use with its Xbox One and Windows 10. Described as "Netflix for video games",[71] the Xbox Game Pass grants users access to a catalog of games from a range of publishers for a single monthly subscription price. The service was launched on June 1, 2017.


Main article: Xbox system software

The main interface for all four generations of Xbox has been the Xbox Dashboard, which allows users to manage games stored on the console, play media, and access system settings. Since 2002, the Dashboard has been integrated with Xbox Live that provides online functionality and storefront options. Though the software for the original Xbox and the Xbox 360 was originally built on a heavily modified Windows 2000 operating system, the software since the Xbox One has used a Windows-based system (first Windows 8, now Windows 10) that allows for easy of compatibility between the console and desktop applications.

Xbox Family Settings App

In May 2020,  Xbox presented a preview version of an app that allows parents and guardians to set daily limits for their children's playing time, provides weekly activity reports, filters out age-restricted games, and places limits on online communication. This is the attempt of Microsoft, Xbox's owner, to promote a message of responsible gaming. The full release is expected in the end of 2020 or later.[72]


Xbox controller

Original Xbox controller, first showcased in 2000

Xbox Controller S, which first shipped in 2002

Main article: Xbox controller

Released in 2001, the Xbox control pad was the first controller made for the original Xbox. The Xbox controller features two analog sticks, a pressure-sensitive directional pad, two analog triggers, a Back button, a Start button, two accessory slots and six 8-bit analog action buttons (A/Green, B/Red, X/Blue, Y/Yellow, and Black and White buttons).[73] The standard Xbox controller (originally nicknamed the "Fatty"[74] and later the "Duke"[75]) was originally the controller bundled with Xbox systems for all territories except Japan.

Xbox 360 controller

Main article: Xbox 360 controller

Released in 2005, the Xbox 360 controller for the Xbox 360 succeeded its predecessor. A standard Xbox 360 controller features eleven digital buttons, two analog triggers, two analog sticks and a digital D-pad. The right face of the controller features four digital action buttons; a green "A" button, red "B" button, blue "X" button and yellow "Y" button. The lower right houses the right analog stick, in the lower left is a digital D-pad and on the left face is the left analog stick. Both analog sticks can also be "clicked in" to activate a digital button beneath. In the center of the controller face are digital "Start", "Back" and "Guide" buttons. The "Guide" button is labelled with the Xbox logo, and is used to turn on the console/controller and to access the guide menu. It is also surrounded by the "ring of light", which indicates the controller number, as well as flashing when connecting and to provide notifications. The left and right "shoulders" each feature a digital shoulder button, or "bumper", and an analog trigger.

Xbox One controller

Main article: Xbox Wireless Controller

The Xbox One console has a revised controller with forty improvements over the 360's controller. This new controller is built to work with Kinect. The Start and Back buttons are replaced with Menu and View buttons. It has impulse triggers that replace the regular triggers. The Xbox button still brings up the mini-guide as of recent dashboard versions, though in earlier iterations it brought up the main dashboard menu while leaving the game uninterrupted.

Xbox Series X and Series S Controller

The fourth generation Xbox Controller doesn't change much from the Xbox One controller, but the new wireless Xbox Controller does add a capture and share button, a hybrid d-pad, and better gripping on the bumpers and triggers.[76] The controller is also promised to be cross compatible with certain PC's and mobile devices.[77]

Xbox Adaptive Controller

Main article: Xbox Adaptive Controller

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a special controller designed for accessibility features for players. Besides being physically larger than typical controllers, it includes additional ports to allow other devices to be connected and mapped to other controller functions. The controller is not limited to just Xbox and Windows platforms but also is compatible with the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch.

Other accessories


The Xbox 360 Kinect Sensor

Kinect (stylized as KINECT) is a motion sensinginput device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360video game console and WindowsPCs. Based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral for the Xbox 360 console, it enables users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller, through a natural user interface using gestures and spoken commands.[78] The project is aimed at broadening the Xbox 360's audience beyond its typical gamer base.[79] Kinect competes with the Wii Remote Plus and PlayStation Move with PlayStation Eyemotion controllers for the Wii and PlayStation 3 home consoles, respectively. A version for Windows was released on February 1, 2012.[80]

Kinect was launched in North America on November 4, 2010,[81] in Europe on November 10, 2010,[82] in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore on November 18, 2010,[83][84][85] and in Japan on November 20, 2010.[86] Purchase options for the sensor peripheral include a bundle with the game Kinect Adventures and console bundles with either a 4 GB[87][88][89] or 250 GB[90] Xbox 360 console and Kinect Adventures.[87][88][89][90]

The Kinect claimed the Guinness World Record of being the "fastest selling consumer electronics device" after selling a total of 8 million units in its first 60 days.[91][92][93] 24 million units of the Kinect sensor had been shipped as of January 2012.[51]

Microsoft released Kinect software development kit for Windows 7 on June 16, 2011.[94][95][96] This SDK was meant to allow developers to write Kinecting apps in C++/CLI, C#, or Visual Basic .NET.[97][98]

Additional information on the Xbox One Kinect was released on June 6, 2013, including information on how to turn off the "always on" feature.[99]

The Xbox One Kinect sensor

Although featuring improved performance over the original Xbox 360 Kinect, its successor the Xbox One Kinect was subject to mixed responses. It was praised for its wide-angle, its fast response time and high-quality camera. However, the Kinect's inability to understand some accents in English was criticized. Furthermore, controversies surround Microsoft's intentional tying of the sensor with the Xbox One console despite the initial requirements for the sensor being plugged in at all times having been revised since its initial announcement. There have also been a number of concerns regarding privacy.


When the Xbox Live online service was launched in 2002, the Xbox Communicatorheadset was included with the Live Starter Kit.[100] The Communicator, which enabled in-game voice chat, consisted of a wired headset and an interface module. The module plugged into the controller's top expansion slot, and the headset plugged into the module; the interface module was equipped with a dial to control volume and a button to mute the microphone.[101] The headset socket on the module was a standard 2.5mm TRS audio jack with monaural input and output, compatible with cellular phone headsets.

Xbox 360 controllers featured a built-in monaural 2.5mm TRS jack also compatible with standard cellular phone headsets, allowing players to reuse the Xbox Communicator headset and chat on Xbox Live without a separate interface module.[102] The premium console bundle included a wired Xbox 360 Live Communicator headset with grey and white cosmetics matching the console, which also was available separately;[103] the wired headset connected to the audio jack on the bottom of the controller through a wide plug that included mute and volume controls. An updated Xbox 360 Headset was released in 2010 with black cosmetics, bundled with the Xbox 360 S; for the revised wired headset, the mute/volume controls were moved to a position inline along the cable.

Main article: Xbox 360 Wireless Headset

Microsoft also announced the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset, a first-party single-ear headset accessory designed for and released with the Xbox 360 console in November 2005. Special editions of the wireless headset were released with colors themed for Halo 3 (green/orange, September 2007),[104] the Xbox 360 S (black, 2010), and Halo Reach (silver, September 2010).[105] It was replaced by the Xbox 360 Wireless Headset with Bluetooth in 2011, which could be used with the console (using the Xbox wireless protocol) or a phone (using Bluetooth).[106]

The initial revision of the Xbox One Wireless Controller (Model 1537) also included a 2.5mm monaural jack compatible with standard cellular phone headsets. Microsoft bundled the Xbox One Chat Headset with each console starting from launch in 2013; the headset was permanently wired to an interface module that plugged into the controller's expansion port and provided microphone mute and volume controls.[107] In addition, Microsoft released the Xbox One Stereo Headset in early March 2014, bundled with a Stereo Headset Adapter, which allowed players to listen to in-game audio blended with chat simultaneously. The Adapter connected to the controller's expansion port and headset jack, and the Headset connected to the Adapter through a 3.5mm plug. Prior headsets released with the Xbox and Xbox 360 were limited to voice chat only.[108] A white-colored special edition was released in fall 2016.[109] The next revision of the controller (Model 1697) replaced with 2.5mm jack with a 3.5mm jack.[110]

A new Xbox Wireless Headset was introduced in February 2021, targeted for use on the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows computers. The outer surface of each earcup is a rotary control; the right earcup controls overall volume, and the left earcup controls game/chat mix level.[111] It is equipped with both proprietary Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth radios, and could be connected to both simultaneously.[112] A corresponding Xbox Stereo Headset, which omits the wireless connections in favor of a standard 3.5mm plug and also omits the game/chat mix control dial, was introduced in August 2021 with a reduced price.[113]



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (October 2016)

In 2016, Microsoft announced that it would hold its own Xbox FanFest instead of a press conference at the Gamescom annual European video game convention.[114] Microsoft held an Xbox FanFest in Sydney in September 2016.[115]


  1. ^Starting with the Xbox One, Microsoft does not release detailed sales figures of its Xbox hardware sales, so all figures provided are based on industry analysis estimates. Xbox's head Phil Spenser said that they do not want their teams to be focused on sales numbers so have opted not to report them and do not plan to for the foreseeable future.[41][42]


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Xbox Series X and S: everything you need to know about the next gen of Xbox

The next-generation of Xbox gaming is a little more complicated than what we’re used to. For starters, Microsoft has released not one but two new consoles this week: the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. Many of the initial crop of first-party games is also designed to be playable on its last generation Xbox, the Xbox One, as well as Windows PCs. And that’s before we get into Microsoft’s game streaming service, xCloud, which could mean you won’t need any Xbox hardware at all to play many of the latest games.

Each new generation tends to deliver big changes for console gaming, and Microsoft’s successors to the Xbox One are no different. Games look better, thanks to more powerful graphics hardware and built-in support for more realistic lighting technology, and in some cases feel more responsive, thanks to support for frame rates of up to 120fps. They also load quicker because both consoles now include fast solid-state storage, a big improvement over the mechanical hard drive included in the Xbox One.

But Microsoft’s approach to this new generation is a big departure from how console launches have worked previously. Typically, we’ve seen Sony and Microsoft release just one new piece of hardware at launch, and each one tends to come with an exclusive library of games that you have to buy the new console in order to play. While Sony, too, has operated a game streaming service for years, it’s only typically used PlayStation Now to offer access to older titles, rather than brand-new releases like xCloud is promising.

Microsoft’s new consoles give you a lot more freedom with how you play its new games, but depending on where you choose to play them, you won’t get exactly the same experience. The Xbox Series X is a much more powerful machine than the Series S or the current Xbox One, for example, which has a big impact on performance.

Microsoft’s two new consoles

This week, Microsoft released its two new Xbox consoles. There’s the $499 (£449, €499) Xbox Series X, and a cheaper $299 (£249, €299) Xbox Series S. You can read our reviews of both of them by following the links below.

It’s not unusual for console manufacturers to offer a couple of different hardware options at launch, but normally, the differences are minor. The PS3, for example, was initially available in two models. There was a version with a 60GB hard drive as well as a cheaper version with a smaller 20GB hard drive, no Wi-Fi support, and fewer ports. Meanwhile, Microsoft also originally sold a “Core” version of the Xbox 360 in 2005, which included compromises like including a wired rather than wireless controller and omitting a hard drive.

The differences between the Xbox Series S and Series X are more substantial and have a big impact on how games look. While Microsoft says the Series X is targeting running games at 60fps at a full 4K resolution, the Series S instead targets a lower 1440p resolution at 60fps. It’s a big power disparity, similar to what we saw between the Xbox One and the Xbox One X, but this time, the two consoles were available on day one, rather than releasing years apart.

Image: Microsoft
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft has a good rundown of the main differences between the Xbox Series X and the Series S on its website. Both have 8-core CPUs, although the X has a slightly higher maximum clock speed of 3.8GHz, rather than 3.6GHz on the Series S. Both support expandable storage of up to 1TB via an expansion card, both output over HDMI 2.1, and both are backwards compatible with “thousands” of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. Both support hardware-accelerated ray tracing for more realistic lighting in games, both support Dolby’s high-end Atmos audio technology, and both will support the Dolby Vision HDR standard. They’re also both backwards compatible with all officially licensed Xbox One accessories like controllers and headsets — although there are no plans to support the Kinect camera.

There are, however, big differences between the two. The Series X has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive, but the Series S is digital-only, so you’ll have to download your games rather than buy them on disc. And yet, the disc-based X also has double the amount of internal storage with 1TB as opposed to 512GB. We found the storage in the Series S filled up quickly as a result. The Series X also has more RAM at 16GB compared to 10GB in the Series S. Physically, the Series S is also a lot smaller than the Series X; Microsoft calls the console its “smallest Xbox ever.” Despite the size differences, we’ve found both consoles have good cooling systems and are run cool and quiet when in use, so long as you don’t try blowing vape smoke into them.

Although they have different amounts of storage, both consoles use fast solid-state drives. For starters, that means that games load very quickly. We’ve found that many games that took over a minute to load on the Xbox One X now boot up in seconds. Games like Destiny 2 and Sea of Thieves, for example, load in half the time on the Series X as they did on the One X, and we found The Outer Worlds loaded in just six seconds on the new console.

Xbox Series X load times

GameXbox Series XXbox One X
CoD: Warzone16 seconds21 seconds
Red Dead Redemption 252 seconds1 min, 35 seconds
The Outer Worlds6 seconds27 seconds
Evil Within 233 seconds43 seconds
Sea of Thieves20 seconds1 min, 21 seconds
Warframe25 seconds1 min, 31 seconds
AC: Odyssey30 seconds1 min, 7 seconds
No Man's Sky1 min, 27 seconds2 mins, 13 seconds
Destiny 2 43 seconds1 min, 52 seconds

This fast storage also helps enable a feature called Quick Resume on both consoles, which allows you to switch between games incredibly quickly in a lot of cases. The big problem right now is that it’s not supported by every game, although Microsoft is working to enable it across more titles. When it works, though, Quick Resume is one of the consoles’ best new additions, and Sony’s PS5 doesn’t have an equivalent feature.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

One of the most significant differences between the Series S and Series X is found in the graphics department. Although both consoles use AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics architecture, the Series X has 52 compute units. That’s not only more than double the 20 compute units you’ll find in the Series S, but they’re also clocked faster at 1.825GHz compared to 1.565GHz. In total, that means the Series X has 12.15 teraflops of graphical horsepower according to Microsoft, compared to 4 teraflops for the Series S.

The Xbox Series X is technically a shade more powerful than the PS5 in the graphics department. While Sony’s consoles are also based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, both models of the PS5 clock in with 10.28 teraflops of GPU power. They’ve got a smaller number of compute units (36), but their maximum cap is higher at 2.23GHz. They’ve also got 8-core CPUs, but they’re clocked at 3.5GHz. However, it’s important to note that the PS5’s CPU and GPU clock speeds are variable based on the total workload, so it’s not quite an apples-to-apples comparison with the new Xbox consoles. This approach could benefit the PS5 in certain scenarios but limit it in others. Otherwise, the PS5’s specs on paper are similar to the Series X. It has 16GB of RAM, 825GB of storage, and a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive.

There aren’t many cross-platform titles that allow us to see how the performance of the PS5 and Series X compare in practice, but an analysis of Devil May Cry 5 by Digital Foundrysees Sony and Microsoft’s consoles performing very similarly. In some modes, the Series X offers slightly faster performance, while the PS5 is ahead in others.

Like Microsoft, Sony also has a step-down digital-only version of its next console, but here, the differences are a lot more basic. The lack of a disc drive means that the digital console is a little slimmer, but otherwise, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan tells CNET that its two consoles are “identical products.” That means we shouldn’t see the same power disparity as Microsoft has.

Xbox Series X vs Series S vs PS5

CategoriesXbox Series XXbox Series SPS5PS5 (digital-only)
CPU8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT Enabled)8-core AMD Zen 2 CPU @ 3.6GHz (3.4GHz with SMT Enabled)8x Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)8x Zen 2 Cores @ 3.5GHz with SMT (variable frequency)
GPUAMD RDNA 2 GPU 52 CUs @ 1.825GHzAMD RDNA 2 GPU 20 CUs @ 1.565GHzAMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)AMD RDNA 2 GPU 36 CUs @ 2.23GHz (variable frequency)
GPU Power12.15 TFLOPS4 TFLOPS10.28 TFLOPs10.28 TFLOPs
Performance TargetTarget 4K @ 60 FPS. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPSTarget 1440p @ 60 FPS. Up to 120 FPSTarget TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPSTarget TBD. Up to 8K. Up to 120 FPS
Storage1TB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)512GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (2.4GB/sec uncompressed, 4.8GB/sec compressed)825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/sec compressed)825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD (5.5GB/sec uncompressed, typical 8-9GB/sec compressed)
Free space for games802GB364GB667GB667GB
Expandable Storage1TB Expansion Card1TB Expansion CardNVMe SSD SlotNVMe SSD Slot
Backward Compatibility"Thousands" of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories. "Thousands" of Xbox One, Xbox 360, original Xbox games. Xbox One accessories. "Overwhelming majority" of PS4 games"Overwhelming majority" of PS4 games
Disc Drive4K UHD Blu-rayNone4K UHD Blu-rayNone
Display OutHDMI 2.1HDMI 2.1HDMI 2.1HDMI 2.1

The difference in power generally means early Series S and Series X games run at different resolutions but often perform similarly. For example, Watch Dogs: Legion targets 4K at 30fps on the Series X and 1080p 30fps on the Series S, and both support ray-tracing for better-looking reflections. (Check out both in action here.)

Similarly, Sea of Thieves and Forza Horizon run at 60fps at 1080p on the Series S, compared to 4K 60fps on the Series X.

Despite the differences in resolution, Microsoft says both consoles are targeting frame rates of 60 frames per second and can support up to 120fps. For example, Rocket League will have a performance mode on both consoles that will allow it to run at 120fps, albeit in both cases at a reduced resolution compared to its 60fps mode. That said, there are some games that target different frame rates across the two consoles. Destiny 2’s crucible mode can run at 120Hz on Series X, but not on Series S, for example.

For now, however, the trend has been for games to feel just as smooth to play regardless of the console, but to look less detailed on the cheaper machine because of their lower resolution. That might not matter as much if you’re playing on an older 1080p TV, but it’ll be more apparent if you’re using a modern 4K set.

Although Microsoft has said the Series S targets 1440p, some early Series S games are running at 1080p. Yakuza: Like a Dragon and Gears Tactics target 1440p, but others like Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 4, Fortnite, and Watch Dogs: Legion are 1080p. That may change as developers get more comfortable working with the new hardware, but based on past experience, it might not. For example, Microsoft billed the Xbox One X as being capable of 4K gaming at 60fps but many of the most popular games around didn’t run at full 4K. Fortnite, for example, runs at a maximum of 1728p on the Xbox One X, while Doom: Eternal tops out at 1800p.

Although your existing Xbox One controllers will work on the Xbox Series X and Series S, there’s also an updated controller for the new consoles, which is available in white, black, and blue. Although it’s broadly similar to the design Microsoft has used for its previous controllers, it’s slightly smaller and has a dedicated share button to simplify the process of uploading screenshots and video clips. Its D-pad is also a circle like the recent Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, rather than a cross like it was on the Xbox One.

New games, new hardware

New hardware needs new games to make the most of it, and Microsoft and its partners have announced a host of games that are coming to its new console. The biggest of these is Halo: Infinite, the latest entry in the long-running sci-fi first-person shooter franchise that’s become synonymous with the Xbox brand since its debut way back in 2001.

Unfortunately, Microsoft recently delayed Halo: Infinite, meaning it will now release in 2021, rather than arriving alongside the new console. News of the delay, which Microsoft attributed in part to the pandemic, came after the game’s visuals were met with criticism after their initial unveiling, prompting developer 343 Industries to admit, “We do have work to do to address some of these areas and raise the level of fidelity and overall presentation for the final game.”

With other Xbox staples like Fable and Forza Motorsport without release dates, the delay has left third-party publishers to fill in the rest of the launch lineup, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Dirt 5, Watch Dogs Legion, and Yakuza: Like a Dragon. Here’s a guide to the best launch day games, and here’s what the months ahead are looking like in terms of new releases.

Image: Ubisoft

These games support different Xbox Series X and Series S features. Watch DogsLegion, for example, run in 4K on the Series X and supports ray tracing for more realistic-looking lighting on both consoles, but there’s no ray-tracing support in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Another interesting title in the launch lineup is Dirt 5, which can run at up to 120fps on the Xbox Series X. A high frame rate like this is especially important in a fast-paced racing game, and it means Dirt5 feels more responsive to play on compatible TVs.

One common feature a lot of these games share is that they’ll also be available for current-gen consoles like the Xbox One and PS4. What was more surprising was when Microsoft said that would be true for even its own flagship games. If Microsoft keeps that promise, it would be a big departure from how console manufacturers have treated these games in the past, where these exclusive games have previously been an essential part of the sales pitch for new hardware.

New games, old hardware

Microsoft has said you won’t have to buy new hardware to enjoy its upcoming first-party titles because many of them will also come to Xbox One. Here’s how Xbox chief Phil Spencer described the company’s approach back in July, where he said that every Xbox Game Studios game in the next couple of years will be playable on the Xbox One.

You won’t be forced into the next generation. We want every Xbox player to play all the new games from Xbox Game Studios. That’s why Xbox Game Studios titles we release in the next couple of years—like Halo Infinite—will be available and play great on Xbox Series X and Xbox One. We won’t force you to upgrade to Xbox Series X at launch to play Xbox exclusives.

And if you’re more of a PC gamer and don’t own an Xbox One, then Microsoft also typically releases its major titles there as well, and it says it plans to continue this policy this year.

Image: 343 Industries

There are some caveats you should be aware of. First is that these promises only cover Microsoft’s first-party titles, aka those published by Xbox Game Studios. Microsoft isn’t making any promises about how other publishers like EA, Ubisoft, or Activision will handle their new games.

Even then, Microsoft has been pretty explicit about the fact that this only covers its own games that will release across the “next couple of years,” and there are signs that some high-profile games that have already been announced might not be coming to the Xbox One. After Microsoft’s high-profile Xbox event in July, we noted that a majority of the title cards for Microsoft’s first-party games, including Forza Motorsport and Fable, didn’t mention that they’d be coming to the Xbox One.

Finally, in case this wasn’t obvious, you’re probably going to see a very different-looking game if you’re choosing to play on a base Xbox One from 2013 compared to a shiny new Xbox Series X.

There’s even been some concern that trying to continue to support the Xbox One could hold back Microsoft’s next-generation games, which could give Sony an advantage since it can focus all of its attention on the new hardware. Spencer, as well as developers we’ve spoken to, have said this shouldn’t be a problem, but so-called “cross-gen” games on previous consoles have never made the most of the latest hardware.

New games, no hardware

Say you don’t own an Xbox or a gaming PC, but you do have an Android phone. Does Microsoft have any next-gen gaming options for you? Thanks to game streaming, it does. On September 15th, Microsoft added game streaming to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate, which costs $14.99 a month. The feature, which was known previously as xCloud, could give you a way to play many of the biggest Xbox Series X games without having to own any gaming hardware at all. You can stream them to a device as simple as an Android phone, for example (but not iOS, which we’ll get into in a second).

Game streaming isn’t an entirely new idea — Sony launched its PlayStation Now service way back in 2014 to a muted response — but Microsoft is taking a much more interesting approach. Rather than focusing on older titles, as Sony did with PlayStation Now, Microsoft says its new games will be available to stream the day they release and lists recent first-party titles like Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 5, Tell Me Why, The Outer Worlds, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps as being among the 150-plus games available to stream at launch.

Photo by Nick Statt / The Verge

There are currently a couple of compromises to this approach, as we found recently when we tested the service for ourselves. For starters, load times and lag and noticeable, and are worse than competing cloud gaming services from Google and Nvidia. Getting into gameplay can take between a minute and a minute and a half, and fast-paced games can feel sluggish. Microsoft says that the servers powering the service will be upgraded to Series S/X hardware next year, but as it stands the service feels unfinished.

xCloud also currently isn’t available on every platform. At the moment, xCloud is available for Android, but the restrictions Apple places on game streaming services mean that it’s yet to come to iOS. That should change next year, however, since Microsoft is planning to develop a web version of the service that will be able to run on Apple’s devices.

Since xCloud will be included with an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, it’s offered alongside a huge array of content beyond game streaming. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate’s $14.99 a month subscription also lets you download and play over 100 games directly on your Xbox or Windows 10 PC, as well as EA Play. It also includes an Xbox Live Gold subscription, which gives access to online multiplayer on Xbox.

PlayStation Now is still around, of course, but Sony isn’t promoting it as a way to play its recent games. It might have a huge catalog of over 800 titles, but it doesn’t feel like a serious attempt to compete with Microsoft’s game streaming, even after a recent price cut to $9.99 a month.

The backwards-compatibility question

The ability to play a previous generation’s games on your new hardware (so-called “backwards compatibility”) has varied between different consoles and generations. Nintendo’s Wii U could happily play every Wii game, and the Wii could play every GameCube game before it. In contrast, the PS4 can’t natively play any games that were released for previous PlayStations — although some can be streamed via PlayStation Now.

With its new consoles, Microsoft has outlined three ways your old games will eventually be playable on its new hardware. Some games will be backwards compatible, some will receive enhancements, and others will receive a free upgrade when newer versions are released.

With the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is making big promises about your ability to play your old Xbox games on its new hardware. For starters, “thousands” of games released for the original Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One are playable on the new consoles, and Microsoft has got a handy tool to let you browse them all. That includes almost every game released for the Xbox One, barring those that required its Kinect camera accessory.

The Xbox Series S can still play older games, but it doesn’t include their Xbox One X enhancements like higher resolutions. So in most cases, you’ll essentially be playing the version of the game that was designed for the less-powerful Xbox One S. That said, in some cases, those older games can still benefit from more modern hardware such as the faster solid-state drive, and games with dynamic resolution scaling can run at higher resolutions. Backwards-compatible original Xbox and Xbox 360 games run at an enhanced 1440p resolution.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

That’s the baseline, but in some cases, Microsoft says that games will be enhanced, running in higher resolutions and frame rates than they were originally released with and with support for new technologies like HDR. In particular, Microsoft says games can be updated to run at double their original frame rate on both the Series S and Series X. We’ve already seen Microsoft achieve impressive results with some of this technology.

Finally, there’s Smart Delivery, which is essentially a free upgrade program that means you won’t have to re-buy an Xbox One game — like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, or Doom Eternal — if it also gets released on the new hardware. Although this will theoretically offer the biggest upgrade, the feature is being selectively used. If you previously bought the original Control for Xbox One, for example, you won’t get a free upgrade to the next-gen version. That’s reserved for owners of Control’s new Ultimate Edition.

Sony has promised more modest improvements for PS4 games running on the PS5. It’s confirmed that the “overwhelming majority” of PS4 games will run on its new hardware, and says that some will have better loading speeds and more stable frame rates. Some developers have said they’ll offer free upgrades to the PS5 versions of their games.

Paying the price

If you want to continue to pay for your hardware and games up front, then that’s still an option with Microsoft’s new Xboxes. As mentioned above, the Xbox Series X retails for $499, while the Series S costs $299. Major releases, meanwhile, seem to be priced similarly or at a $10 premium to current-gen titles. The PS5 costs between $399 for its disc-free model, and $499 for its model with a 4K Blu-ray drive.

But going into this generation, Microsoft is making a big bet on people wanting to spend their money on games in monthly installments. For the Xbox Series X, that means paying $34.99 a month for 24 months via its Xbox All Access bundle (total cost: $839.76), while the Series S is available for $24.99 a month (total cost: $599.76). All Access will be available in 12 countries this year: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

That’s more expensive than buying the console upfront, but included with Xbox All Access is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate — a subscription service that gets you free access to over 100 Xbox One titles, including big recent titles like Tell Me Why, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and Forza Horizon 4 — free games via EA Play, Xbox Live Gold (a subscription that comes with its own monthly free games as well as access to online multiplayer), and game streaming via xCloud. Oh, and it gives free access to over 100 Windows 10 games as well, such as the recently released Microsoft Flight Simulator.

If you’d rather buy your hardware outright and buy a subscription to one of Microsoft’s game services separately, then Xbox Game Pass is available in a couple of different variations. Factor in the cost of these subscriptions to the total price of Xbox All Access, and the price of the console hardware itself drops to just $10 or $20 a month.

Xbox Game Pass comparison

CategoriesXbox Game Pass UltimateXbox Game PassXbox Game Pass for PC
Games included250+ games250+ games200+ games
Xbox Live GoldYesNoNo
EA PlayYesNo Yes
Monthly price$14.99/£10.99/€12.99$9.99/£7.99/€9.99$9.99/£7.99/€9.99

Suffice it to say, if you don’t have the cash to make a big upfront purchase, then Microsoft still wants to get you on board for its next generation of consoles. You won’t own any of the games you can play (aside from the older Xbox 360 games you can download with Xbox Live’s Games with Gold service), but that’s the trade-off you make.

Microsoft’s plans for the next generation of gaming are sprawling. Two consoles that are available via subscription and can play a huge chunk of your existing Xbox games, a new roster of games that will be playable on your existing Xbox One, a continuing focus on PC gaming, and a game streaming service mean that, no matter what hardware you own, there’s a decent chance you’ll be able to pay Microsoft to play its games.

We’ve written before about how the focus on trying to sell subscriptions rather than premium hardware means that the “true next-gen Xbox” is the subscription itself, rather than the hardware it plays on. Microsoft is casting its net wide, and it doesn’t want any hardware requirements to get in the way of you subscribing.

Sony, meanwhile, is doing what it’s always done: it’s making a new console, developing exclusive games for it, and selling it. It’s hard to argue too much with the approach when it’s done so well for the company so far, especially with the PS4.

As of this writing, the PS4 has reportedly outsold the Xbox One by a factor of over two to one, so it’s hard to see why Sony would want to change its strategy too much. Microsoft is coming into this next generation as an underdog, and it’s doing everything in its power to change the rules of the game.

Update November 12th, 1:30PM ET: Added hands on impressions now that the Xbox Series S and Series X have launched.

Correction November 12th, 1:30PM ET: An earlier version of this article stated that the PS5 will have 16GB of GDDR5 RAM. This is incorrect. It actually has 16GB of GDDR6 RAM.

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"The Xbox Series X runs like an Xbox One swallowed a Lambo" – Polygon

UP TO120

Frames per second


High Dynamic Range

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Xbox Velocity Architecture




Games built with the Xbox Series X|S development kit showcase significantly reduced load times and stunning visuals at up to 120FPS.*



With Smart Delivery, you can buy a supported game once and always have the best available version for whatever console you play on.


From future adventures, to current obsessions, to classic titles, thousands of favorites across four generations of Xbox look and play best on Xbox Series X.


The 12 teraflops of processing power housed in the system on a chip (SOC) work with AMD’s Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures to result in worlds that demand a closer look.


3D Spatial Sound is the next evolution in audio technology, using advanced algorithms to create immersive lifelike worlds that put you at the center of your experience.



Together, the new system on a chip (SOC) and the Xbox Velocity Architecture put speed at your fingertips, and the 1TB custom SSD & CPU put the wheel in your hands, so you can go from 0-60 in up to 120FPS.

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Faster load times. Sip quick. Games load significantly faster with the custom SSD in the Xbox Series X.

video play button

Change the game. With Quick Resume, you can seamlessly switch between multiple different titles and resume instantly from where you left off.

video play button


The 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S plugs into the back of the console via the dedicated expansion port and replicates the console’s custom SSD experience, providing additional game storage at the same performance. (Sold separately.)



The Xbox Wireless Controller brings elegant design, refined comfort, and instant sharing to a familiar favorite.



Show off. Tap the share button to eternalize your conquest.

Left to right animation of the top of the Xbox Wireless controller


Textured triggers and bumpers hold tight to keep you from slipping.


Updated in every direction. The hybrid D-pad lets you crush combos without crossing fingers.

Xbox Series X is compatible with your Xbox One gaming accessories and brings faster response times than ever before.


On Xbox Series X, enjoy 4K resolution at 60FPS in campaign and greatly reduced load times creating seamless gameplay that ushers in the next generation of gaming.**


Explore the epic expanse of a Halo ring for the first time in the most ambitious Halo game ever made.

video play button
  • open button

    Assassin's Creed Valhalla

    Assassin's Creed Valhalla

    Become Eivor, a legendary Viking raider on a quest for glory. Explore a dynamic and beautiful open world set against the brutal backdrop of England’s Dark Ages. Raid your enemies, grow your settlement, and build your political power in the quest to earn a place among the gods in Valhalla.


    Assassin's Creed Valhalla logo
    open button


  • open button

    The Ascent

    The Ascent

    The Ascent is a solo and co-op action RPG set in a cyberpunk world. The mega corporation that owns you and everyone, The Ascent Group, has just collapsed. Confusion and chaos ensue, security and order are in disarray, and without protection, everyone is left to fend for themselves. Stop gangs and hostile corporations from taking over and discover what really happened.


    The Ascent logo
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  • close button
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    Destiny 2: Beyond Light

    Destiny 2: Beyond Light

    A new power is born out of the ancient Pyramid Ship above Europa's frozen frontier, and a dark empire has risen beneath. In Destiny 2: Beyond Light, join your fellow Guardians and bring down the empire at any cost – even if it means wielding the Darkness itself.


    Destiny 2 logo
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  • close button
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    NBA 2K21

    NBA 2K21

    NBA 2K21 offers one-of-a-kind immersion into all facets of NBA basketball and culture – where Everything is Game.


    NBA 2K21 logo
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    Watch Dogs Legion

    Watch Dogs Legion

    Mass surveillance, private militaries controlling the streets, organized crime... Enough! It's time to end oppression. Recruit a well-rounded resistance to overthrow the opportunists ruining this once-great city. The fate of London lies with you.


    Watch Dogs Legion logo
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New generation console. New generation games.

Embark on new adventures the way they’re meant to be experienced on the Xbox Series X.


Get ready for faster load times, higher resolution, more stable frame rates, and better input latency on thousands of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox games.

Animation showing air flowing through the Xbox Series X with Elder Scrolls Online art


The Xbox Parallel Cooling Architecture is built with three air flow channels that evenly distribute the temperatures generated by the advanced internal components, keeping the console cool and quiet.


A split motherboard keeps the console’s internals evenly temperature controlled allowing for an even higher output of power.


The vapor chamber in the Xbox Series X enables an even spread of temperatures within the core.


A heat-sink chassis is a unique, non-electronic component that merges parallel cooling with unique design to increase the reliability of performance.


A vertical airflow system keeps the console running smoothly and cooling quietly.


CPU. 8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU

GPU. 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU

SOC Die Size. 360.45 mm

Process. 7nm Enhanced

Memory. 16GB GDDR6 w/320 bit-wide bus

Memory Bandwidth. 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s.

Internal Storage. 1TB Custom NVME SSD

I/O Throughput. 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)

Expandable Storage. Support for 1TB Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S matches internal storage exactly (sold separately). Support for USB 3.1 external HDD (sold separately).

Gaming Resolution. True 4K

High Dynamic Range. Up to 8K HDR

Optical Drive. 4K UHD Blu-Ray

Performance Target. Up to 120 FPS

HDMI Features. Auto Low Latency Mode. HDMI Variable Refresh Rate. AMD FreeSync.

Dolby Digital 5.1

DTS 5.1

Dolby TrueHD with Atmos

Up to 7.1 L-PCM

HDMI. 1x HDMI 2.1 port

USB. 3x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports

Wireless. 802.11ac dual band

Ethernet. 802.3 10/100/1000

Accessories radio. Dedicated dual band Xbox Wireless radio.

console sketch

Dimensions 15.1cm x 15.1cm x 30.1cm

Weight 9.8 lbs.


Get an Xbox Series X, plus 24 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for for 24 months with no upfront cost.^

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Pay the full amount when buying from your preferred Xbox retailer.




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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

Play like a pro with the unlimited customization of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.


Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S

Download more games with an additional 1TB of external memory while maintaining the same performance as the console’s internal SSD.


Xbox Wireless Headset

Hear ‘em coming. Never miss a beat with the Xbox Wireless Headset.


Frequently asked questions

Xbox Series X is launching at participating retailers worldwide on November 10, 2020.

Xbox Series X is compatible with thousands of games across four generations of Xbox. And, with Smart Delivery games, you buy a game once and get the best version of that game for the console you’re playing on. To play a backward compatible game, insert the disc or search your library and select the game you want to play.

All Xbox Game Studio titles include Smart Delivery so you get the best version of the game no matter which console you play on. Partner games that have chosen to include Smart Delivery will make note of the feature on their digital game page or on the box the disc comes in.

With Xbox Series X, an Xbox Series X console, controller, Ultra High Speed HDMI cable, and power cord are included. You can add standalone purchases of Xbox Game Pass and the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X | S for the complete experience.****

Mortal Kombat 11 Avalanche Sub Zero Skin Gameplay MK11 XBOX SERIES X 4K 60FPS

The Xbox Series X is scheduled to arrive this holiday season — here's everything we know so far about Microsoft's next game console

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Xbox Series X
  • Microsoft's next-gen Xbox console is almost here: The Xbox Series X is set to launch in November.
  • The new console is scheduled to arrive this coming holiday season, and Microsoft says it'll be four times more powerful than its current Xbox One X console.
  • Xbox Series X has an SSD for faster load times and a more powerful processor from AMD for better graphics. 
  • Additionally, the new Xbox console will carry forward your purchases and progression from Xbox One games. Any existing backwards compatibility with original Xbox and Xbox 360 titles on the Xbox One will also carry forward.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It may not feel like it just yet, but soon enough we'll be looking back on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as "last-gen" consoles.

Both Sony and Microsoft are on the verge of launching their respective next-gen consoles: The Xbox Series X is scheduled to launch this November, while Sony's PlayStation 5 is on track for a "holiday 2020" launch.

So, what makes Microsoft's new console different from Sony's new console? Let's dig in.

1. The Philosophy: "For us, the console is vital, and central to our experience. We heard you — a console should be designed and built and optimized for one thing, and one thing only: gaming."

Xbox Series X

With the Xbox One, Microsoft notoriously fumbled the announcement. While introducing the Xbox One in 2013, the company spent a lot of time talking about "entertainment" rather than gaming — the core of all video game consoles.

This time, Microsoft isn't making the same mistake.

When the console was first detailed in June at E3 2019, the annual video game trade show, the very first thing that Xbox head Phil Spencer said about the new console was the quote above — "we heard you" being core to that message.

Spencer, on behalf of Microsoft, is making a direct effort to earn back the so-called "core gamer" audience that was so critical to the success of the Xbox 360. 

To that end, the first details on the Xbox Series X, which was then code-named Project Scarlett, were focused on the kind of under-the-hood specs that appeal most to that core audience.

2. The specs: A big step up over even the most powerful Xbox One console — "four times more powerful than the Xbox One X."

Xbox Series X

"Xbox Series X will be our fastest, most powerful console ever and set a new bar for performance, speed and compatibility," Spencer said last December when the console's design and name were revealed at the 2019 Game Awards. 

The Xbox Series X, he said, is four times faster than the current Xbox One X — an already powerful game console.

But let's not beat around the bush. Here are the approximate specs of Microsoft's next Xbox:

  • Processor: AMD "Navi" processor ("SoC"): "At the heart of our next-generation console is our custom-designed processor, leveraging the latest Zen 2 and and Navi technology from our partners at AMD."
  • Memory: GDDR6 RAM
  • Optical Media Drive: Blu-ray disc drive
  • Storage: Solid-state drive

Microsoft says all that hardware can produce 8K visuals, and up to 120 frames-per-second. The company also says that the SSD will load games faster than ever before, and multiple games can be left suspended with a "quick resume" feature. Simply put, the feature lets players, "continue multiple games from a suspended state almost instantly, returning you to where you were and what you were doing, without waiting through long loading screens."

All these specs are relatively meaningless, of course. What matters is how they're used.

3. The broad goal for Xbox Series X: Make it easier to play games on whatever device you want, with whoever you want to play with. (But also, yes, it will still play discs).

Project xCloud, Microsoft

Microsoft's been talking about a new Netflix-like video game streaming solution for awhile now, called Project xCloud. You can even use it yourself for free — it's currently in beta, and is set to go live soon.

The idea is you can play whatever games you want on whatever device you want (as long as you have a strong, stable internet connection). That plan is still in the works, and is a part of the vision for the next generation of Xbox — but so is a physical disc drive and a digital storage system as well.

But this isn't a video game streaming box. Xbox Series X is very much a video game console in the traditional sense.

In the long run, Microsoft wants Xbox Series X to be the centerpiece of a broader strategy to get people playing games on whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want, even without owning a physical video game console. 

4. The games: Microsoft is touting "thousands of games spanning four generations," but the big exclusive just got delayed.

Halo Infinite
343 Industries/Microsoft Studios

In the console'e June 2019 announcement video, a Microsoft employee says "hundreds" of people inside and outside of Microsoft are already working on games for Xbox Series X. 

The video also revealed "Halo Infinite" as a launch title for the next-gen Xbox console — the next major entry in the decades-old "Halo" first-person shooter series.

The game has since been delayed to some time in 2021, and Microsoft has shifted focus to the console's ability to play "thousands of games spanning four generations."

The company has also announced a slew of upcoming post-launch games, including new "Forza" and "Fable" games, and "Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2."

It's safe to assume that major first-party game franchises, like "Gears of War," are in production. Microsoft has said that "15 Xbox Game Studios are developing the largest and most creatively diverse lineup of Xbox exclusive games in our history" for the Xbox Series X.

Outside of Microsoft, at least two major next-gen games are in the works that we already know of: "The Elder Scrolls VI" and "Starfield," both from Bethesda Softworks.

And beyond that, all the major multiplatform games are headed to the next-gen Xbox: "Call of Duty," "Assassin's Creed," and all the major annual sports games ("Madden," "FIFA," "NBA 2K") are locks.

5. The look: "We wanted to design a console where the form was driven by the function. And the function, as I said, was to really play the highest power, most immersive games possible."

Xbox Series X

The design of the Xbox Series X, first revealed on December 12 at the 2019 Game Awards, is a major departure from traditional game console design.

Rather than looking like futuristic DVD player, like so many game consoles before it, the Xbox Series X resembles an austere PC tower. It has a disc slot for Blu-ray discs, a glowing Xbox button for turning the console on, and there's at least one USB plug hiding out on the lower right corner. We've yet to see what it looks like around back, but the top is just a massive air duct for cooling.

In an exclusive hands-on with Xbox Series X, GameSpot's Peter Brown described the console's size as such: "Series X's square footprint is roughly as wide as an Xbox One controller and (again, roughly) three times as tall."

Moreover, it can be oriented horizontally or vertically, which should allow it to be easily fit into home entertainment centers.

6. The Details: All your Xbox One stuff is coming forward to the next-gen Xbox, including the backwards compatible stuff that worked there.

Xbox One X / Xbox One S

Latest version xbox

Xbox Series X release date | price, games, specs and pre-orders

The Xbox Series X is the long-awaited new console coming from Microsoft following in a long line of consoles from the same family that have been with gamers for almost two decades.

The original Xbox was released in 2001, with the Xbox 360 arriving in 2005, followed by the Xbox One in 2013. Although there have been significant upgrades and changes between these models, the new Xbox Series X will be the first major generational change in Xbox family for over seven years.

Originally codenamed “Project Scarlett” by Microsoft, the new Xbox Series X was officially announced at The Game Awards 2019 with a trailer that gave fans and gamers a first glimpse of the fourth generation console from the Xbox family.

Xbox Series X quick facts

Xbox Series X release date: 10th November 2020

What can I play on it? Halo Infinite, Hellblade 2, Assassin’s Creed Vahalla and more. You can also access more via a monthly Xbox Game Pass subscription.

Xbox Series X price: $499, £449

Xbox Series S price: $299, £249

Does Xbox Series X have VR? Not at launch, but expect it later.

Can I play my Xbox One games on Series X? Yes, they are backwards compatible.  

When is the Xbox Series X release date?

It has now been announced that the new Xbox Series X release date will be 10th November this year and it will be the most powerful Xbox to date. There will also be a more affordable version of the console named the Xbox S which will be released at the same time. Xbox Series X pre-orders began on22nd September.

Xbox Series X price: How much will X Box Series X cost?

The Xbox Series X console will cost £449 here in the UK and $499 stateside, it has now been announced. There will also be a more affordable alternative version of the new console which will be called the Xbox Series S. This console will retail at the lower price point of £249/$299.

Xbox Series pre-order: where can I pre-order the Xbox Series X?

The Xbox Series X, and the cheaper Series S, were both available to pre-order at a selection of retailers. The X has sold out everywhere now, but you can still pick up the Series S at a couple of places- although we do not expect them to last long.

We will continue to keep this page updated with the latest retailers and their stock levels.

Xbox Series X pre-order UK

Below are the individual links to consoles on each site for if and when the stock does return for pre-order.

Currys PC World 

Xbox Series X –£449

Xbox Series S – £249


GAME is also a good place to check for accessories and is one of the few places to still have a Series S in stock.

Xbox Series X – £449.99

Xbox Series S – £249.99


As one of the most popular retailers, Amazon is struggling to keep up with the pre-order demand. However, they do regularly top-up stock throughout the day so do keep checking back.

Xbox Series X – £449.99

Xbox Series S – £249.99


Very did have PS5 in stock and was a good place to look as the other retailers started to sell out. The Xbox Series X is already selling out but there are good levels of stock for the cheaper Series S console.

Xbox Series X – £449.99

Xbox Series S – £249.99 has a pre-order search filter so keep an eye for Xbox Series X and S pre-order.

Xbox Series X – £479 (includes 3 Month Game Pass)

Xbox Series S – £279 (includes 3 Month Game Pass)


Another retailer that proved useful on PS5 pre-order day was ShopTo.Net.

Xbox Series X – £449.85 (Currently out of stock)

Xbox Series S – £249.85

Xbox Series X Specs: What do we know about the Xbox Series X?

CPU: 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU: 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size: 360.45 mm2
Process: 7nm Enhanced
Memory: 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
Memory Bandwidth: 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage: 1TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput: 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s
Expandable Storage: 1TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage: USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS

With these specs, the Xbox Series X will be the most powerful console that Microsoft have ever produced and will go head-to-head with Sony’s brand new PS5 for the Christmas 2020 market. It is worth noting that while the console will have 1TB of storage space, some of that will be taken up with the system already so expect to have around 802GB remaining for games and other downloads.

But, if you already have games stored on an external hard drive to play on your current Xbox console, they will play straight away on the Series X which is definitely handy!

Like the PS5, Microsoft will be adding an SSD capability for storage, but will also have a physical drive for games.

It is also understood that current Xbox One peripherals like the controllers will work on the new Series X.

People who have been lucky enough to get hold of a console, even if they are not the final versions, have been making some interesting findings as they have been playing them. One of the main things we are hearing is how quiet it is- which is sure to be a relief for those who don’t like hearing the whirring of a console as they are working their way through a game.

It has also been said that it kicks out a surprising amount of heat when it is switched on. It does sound like that is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, but it’s handy to know if you get yours and start to worry about how hot it is getting.

Xbox Series X design: What does the Xbox Series X look like?

A trailer revealed what the new Xbox Series X looks like and it has a whole new look. The shape of the device is different from its predecessor, oblong in shape and when upright looking more like a gaming PC – with a prominent curved grill on top- it’s a good looking console.

The Xbox Series X has an upright tower design like a gaming PC, but you can sit it horizontally as well vertically. The console in the trailer is black with cooling vent indents on the top. The light inside looks green. The logo is in the top left-hand corner and there’s a disc drive vertically.

Port wise there’s the HDMI 2.1 output port, three USB 3.2 ports, one networking port and an expanded storage slot and a power input port.

Size wise it’s 15.1cm x and 30.1cm and weighs 4.45kg/9/8lbs.

Xbox Series X controller

Microsoft is releasing a new controller with the console. The new Xbox Wireless Controller has a refined shape and size. The idea is to make it more accessible following on from the Xbox Adaptive Controller. There’s also a dedicated share button that lets you share screenshots and videos with friends. As well as that there’s a new feature called Dynamic Latency input which lets you synchronise “input immediately with what is displayed” making it more precise and responsive.

Xbox Series X Games

While the Xbox Series X will support any games already playable on the Xbox One, there will also be a whole new range of Xbox Series X games being launched in time for the console’s release date.

The list of games already revealed include Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, FIFA 21 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which is available to pre-order now.

Also expect those games to run much quicker on the Xbox Series X, as evidenced by the below video of Destiny 2 that was captured by Tom Warren over at The Verge

Games will be backwards compatible on the Series X too, meaning you will be able to play all from the One range, and a selection from the 360 and the original Xbox that are a part of the backwards compatibility programme. Some will look better on the X, but do not expect much in the way of an upgrade for older titles- still, it is nice to be able to play a beloved game from around 2005 on a shiny new 2020 console.

Certain games are being made to look better for the X, with Rockstar titles GTA5 and Red Dead Redemption 2 both said to look stunning on the Series X. Now we wait for news that will likely never come about a ground-up remaster of the 2010 Red Dead Redemption- we can dream.

Xbox also has the monthly subscription service, Gamespass which has a whole load of games ready to download and play- including all new and future Xbox exclusives such as the Gears and Halo series. Not only that but from November 10th, EA Play (formerly known as EA Access) will also be part of the service and that in itself has many games to play. EA Play does include the sports series (but not the latest) and includes popular franchises such as Sims, Plants Vs Zombies, Dead Space and Mass Effect.

And with Microsoft in the process of buying Bethesda, and Sega rumours doing the rounds, you will certainly not be short on games to play for the low monthly cost.

What about Xbox Series S?

Codenamed Project Lockhart, the Xbox Series S, is the cheaper, digital-only alternative to the new Xbox Series X.

The lower-cost console had been rumoured for a while along with the disc-less feature, and faster CPU. Think PS4 Pro without the disc dive. Microsoft has said that Xbox Series X will be part of a family of consoles and it seems they were true to their word.

Not sure which console to buy? Check out our comparison of the PS5 vs Xbox Series X for more info. 

Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S Model Unboxing

List of Xbox 360 retail configurations

Wikipedia list article

Ambox current red Asia Australia.svg

Parts of this article (those related to Current models) need to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(November 2013)

Xbox 360 Pro console with white wireless controller.

The Xbox 360 video game console has appeared in various retail configurations during its life-cycle. At its launch, the Xbox 360 was available in two retail configurations: the morning "Xbox 360" package (unofficially known as the 20 GB Pro or Premium), priced at US$399.99 or £279.99, and the "Xbox 360 Core," priced at US$299.99 and £209.99. The original shipment of Xbox 360s included a cut-down version of the Media Remote as a promotion. The Elite package was launched later at a retail price of US$479.99. The "Xbox 360 Core" was replaced by the "Xbox 360 Arcade" in October 2007[1] and a 60 GB version of the Xbox 360 Pro was released on August 1, 2008. The Pro package was discontinued and marked down to US$249.99 on August 28, 2009 to be sold until stock ran out, while the Elite was also marked down in price to US$299.99.[2]

In June 2010, Microsoft announced a new, redesigned model and the discontinuation of the Elite and Arcade models.[3]


Xbox 360[edit]

Xbox 360[edit]

Xbox 360 Pro console with white wireless controller.

The Xbox 360[4] (also known as Pro or Premium and packaged as simply Xbox 360 with the subheading "Go Pro") included all the features of the Xbox 360 Core and included a hybrid composite/component cable with optional optical out instead of the composite AV cable included with the Core. This model also included a detachable hard disk drive (initially 20 GB, while later models had 60 GB) to store downloaded content, provide compatibility with original Xbox games, and store game data. The included hard drive came with game demos, video clips and a free Live Arcade game, Hexic HD. In July 2007, this version of the Xbox 360 began appearing with the Zephyr motherboard (the motherboard used in the Elite) which features HDMI 1.2 output and an improved GPU heatsink. Although this model did include an HDMI output,[5][6] it did not come with an HDMI cable.[citation needed] Starting at the end of September 2007, the newest systems were shipped with the new "Falcon" motherboard. This motherboard includes the new 65 nm CPUs, making them quieter and cooler than the older systems.[7] On August 1, 2008, the 20 GB version was discontinued and was replaced by a 60 GB HDD model at the same price. Holiday 2008 consoles were bundled with Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and Kung Fu Panda.[8] Price cuts that took effect on September 4, 2008 reduced the price from $349 to $299.[9] The Xbox 360 configuration, following its discontinuation, retailed for $250 until stocks were exhausted.

Xbox 360 Core[edit]

The Xbox 360 Core was an entry level Xbox 360 which was later replaced with the "Arcade". Although available at launch in other regions, it was not available in Japan until November 2, 2006.[10] The Core system came bundled with a composite video cable, capable of only SDTV resolutions. The console was however capable of the same HDTV resolutions (up to 1080i) as the other models when connected to a separately sold component/d-terminal cable. In October 2006, 1080p support was added for all models in a system update,[11] including the "Core" using either the component/d-terminal cable, or the new VGA cable (although 1080p via component was not widely supported by televisions). It may also utilize a separately sold Xbox 360 hard drive. Unlike all other SKUs, it shipped with a wired version of the Xbox 360 controller, instead of the wireless version found in other SKUs.

Xbox 360 Arcade[edit]

Xbox 360 Arcade console with white wireless controller.
Xbox 360 Arcade console with white wireless controller. The Arcade is cosmetically identical to the Core model, with the exception of the white disk drive instead of the Core's silver one.

The Xbox 360 Arcade[12] replaced the Xbox 360 Core as the entry-level Xbox 360 on September 20, 2007, while retaining the Core's price of US$279.99.[13] It was publicly revealed by Microsoft's president of Entertainment Devices division Robbie Bach to the Financial Times on October 18, 2007,[14] and officially announced on October 22, 2007,[1] although it was available in stores far earlier.[12] It included a wireless controller, a composite AV cable, HDMI 1.2 output, a 256 MB memory unit and five Xbox Live Arcade titles:[15]Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and Uno on a single disk, which also included a "Welcome Video" and several game trailers and demos.[16] Like its predecessor the "Core", it did not include a hard disk drive, which is required for Xbox software backwards compatibility. In Autumn (Fall) 2008, with the introduction of the Jasper motherboard revision, the memory unit was removed from the package and replaced with a 256 MB internal memory chip.[17] This was later upgraded to a 512 MB chip in Summer 2009.[18] Holiday 2008 consoles were bundled with Sega Superstars Tennis.[8] With the price cuts on September 4, 2008, the Arcade fell from US$279 to US$199 in the US.[9] In the UK, with the 2009 Elite price drop and discontinuation of the "Premium" Pro SKU, the Arcade price rose from £129.99 to £159.99.[19] With the unveiling of the Xbox 360 S redesign, the Arcade dropped in price to US$149.99 for remaining units until stocks are exhausted. The Arcade was replaced at the US$200 price tier by the 4 GB Xbox 360 S.

Xbox 360 Elite[edit]

Xbox 360 Elite console with black wireless controller.
Xbox 360 Elite console with black wireless controller

The Xbox 360 Elite included a 120 GB hard drive and a matte black finish. The Elite retail package also included a controller and headset that match the system's black finish.[20] The initial release price was US$479.99,[21]C$549.99,[21]£299.99, and A$729.95. The Elite was released in North America on April 29, 2007,[22] Europe on August 24, 2007, and Australia on August 30, 2007. These Elites (and other Xbox 360 models using the Falcon) can be identified from earlier versions by a re-designed power connector and a power supply rated to 175 W. In 2009, Elite models using the Jasper chipset became available. These can also be identified by their power supply, which is rated at 150W and has a 12.1A 12v rail. Christmas 2008 consoles were bundled with Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and Kung Fu Panda.[8] The Elite's price tag was cut from $449 to $399 on September 4, 2008.[2][23] With the announcement of the new Xbox 360 250 GB model, the Elite dropped in price to US$249.99 for remaining units until stocks were exhausted.[3]

Xbox 360 S[edit]

Xbox 360 S console
Xbox 360 S console (Matte black)

Technically designated the Xbox 360 S,[24] commonly known as the Xbox 360 Slim,[25] and marketed simply as the Xbox 360;[26] these Xbox 360 consoles are based on a redesign of the Xbox 360 hardware which was officially announced on June 14, 2010 during a press briefing prior to that year's E3. It was speculated that a complete redesign of the Xbox 360 hardware was being produced after pictures of a possible new motherboard design surfaced on March 17, 2010.[27] Ads later surfaced on June 13, 2010 showing a slimmer Xbox 360 design, which was expected to include a 250 GB hard drive and integrated Wi-Fi functionality.[28]

The console's casing is revised in comparison to the previous models, with a glossy black finish and capacitive power and eject buttons. The internal hardware was redesigned using a new motherboard codenamed "Valhalla", which integrates the CPU, GPU, and eDRAM into a single package using a 45 nm fabrication process. As the CPU and GPU are integrated into the same die, they may also share the same heatsink and fan, which reduces the console's noise output, and its power consumption by roughly half in comparison to the original Xenon motherboard.[30] The S has two additional rear USB ports, as well as a proprietary port used to connect the Kinect sensor.[30]

The motherboard has an integrated 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi adapter,[31] and a TOSLINKS/PDIF optical audio connector.[30] The S no longer includes Memory Unit slots; USB drives can alternatively be used to expand storage. The external hard disk drive connector has also been swapped for an internal bay for use with a proprietary hard drive. The hard drive bay is designed such that a specially formatted 2.5" hard drive may be loaded in. Data can be transferred from a previous console using a USB transfer cable sold separately.[32] If removed from its casing, a hard drive from a previous generation 360 can be implanted into the drive bay instead of purchasing a hard drive branded for use with the new model.[32]

Unlike previous generations of the console which had names to distinguish different SKUs, the new models' retail units were branded by their internal storage capacity[3] in a similar fashion to the various models of its main competitor the PlayStation 3. When the first new models began to ship, remaining stock of the Elite package dropped in price to US$249.99[3] or A$349[33] and the Arcade dropped to US$149.99.[3]

The first Xbox 360 S SKU revealed included a 250 GB hard drive[34] and its casing featured a glossy black finish. It was shipped to US retailers the same day it was announced (June 14, 2010) and went on sale later that week. It was released in Australia on July 1, 2010,[35] in New Zealand on July 8, 2010[35] and in Europe on July 16, 2010. It retails at US$299.99,[35]£199.99,[35]A$449.00,[35]NZ$499.00[35] or €249.00,[36] replacing the Xbox 360 Elite at that price point.

In August 2011, Microsoft announced they would be streamlining their models by discontinuing the glossy finish and that future 250 GB consoles would use the matte finish found on 4 GB models.[37][38]

A second SKU which included 4 GB of internal flash storage and had a matte black casing (much like the Xbox 360 Elite)[39] was released on August 3, 2010 in the US[39] and August 20, 2010 in Europe.[40] It replaced the Xbox 360 Arcade and is priced at US$199.99, £149.99 or €199.99.[39][40][41][42] Although this model has on-board storage, Xbox Product Director Aaron Greenberg confirmed that it does have a drive bay which Microsoft has "the opportunity to use in the future".[39] On August 20, 2010, Microsoft announced a 250 GB stand-alone hard drive for use with Xbox 360 S models priced at US$129.99.[43]

Xbox 360 E[edit]

The Xbox 360 E, restyled with design traits of the Xbox One

At Microsoft's E3 press conference on June 10, 2013, another hardware revision of the Xbox 360 known as Xbox 360 E was unveiled for immediate availability. It is a revision of the S model with a new Xbox One-inspired casing, carrying a more rectangular appearance and a two-tone color scheme. It has one fewer USB port and no S/PDIF, YPbPr component or S-video connections. Its internal hardware is otherwise similar to the S model.[44] SKUs and pricing for the new model are identical to those of the previous model.[45][46]

Comparison of features[edit]

Information is based on current specifications for standard packages. Older or holiday packages may differ from current configurations.

Model Storage HDMI Appearance Headset Other accessories/bundled items MSRPFirst available
Xbox 360 Pro 60 GB HDDYesMatte white
Chrome disc drive
Yes[f]US$399.99, C$299.99, £169.99,

€239.99, ¥29,800, A$399.00[47]

20 GB HDDYesYes[f]2007-09
Xbox 360 Core None NoMatte white
Matte white disc drive
  • Wired controller
  • Composite AV Cable[b]
US$299.99, £199.99, ¥27,800 2005-11-22
Xbox 360 Elite 250 GB HDD[a]YesMatte black (Matte white FFXIII Edition)
Chrome disc drive
NoUS$399.99, C$399.99, £249.99,

€329.99, A$599.00

120 GB HDDYesUS$299.99, C$299.99, £199.99,

€299.99 ¥29,800, A$549.00[49][50][47]

Xbox 360 Arcade 512 MB[18] onboard YesMatte white
Matte white disc drive
  • Wireless controller
  • Composite AV Cable[b][51]
  • Xbox Live Arcade compilation disc[e](not included with all units)
US$199.99, C$149.99, £159.99,

€179.99, ¥19,800, A$299.00[19][47]

256 MB[17] onboard No2008-12
256 MB memory unitNo2007-10-23
Xbox 360 S[3][24]320 GB HDD[a][52][53]YesMetallic red with black Gears of War 3 branding[52]Yes

For details of bundle specifics, see Xbox 360 S special editions below

Matte blue and white R2-D2 artwork[53]YesUS$449.99,[53]£349.99[54]
Matte grey and dark grey with white Modern Warfare 3 branding[55]NoUS$399[55]
Translucent dark grey with blue and white Halo 4 artwork; blue ring of light NoUS$399.99
250 GB HDDYesMatte black NoUS$299.99, C$299.99, £199.99,


Glossy black Yes
4 GB onboard[39][41][42]YesMatte black No
  • Wireless controller
  • Composite AV Cable[b]
US$199.99,[42] £149.99,[42] C$199.99
Glossy white[59]NoUS$299.99[59]
Xbox 360 E 250 GB HDDYesTwo-tone black No
  • Wireless controller
  • Composite AV Cable
US$299.99, C$299.99, £199.99,
€249.99, A$449.00, NZ$499.00
  • NA: 2013-06-10
  • EU: 2013-06-20
4 GB onboard Yes
All Xbox 360s come with Xbox Live Free membership (Prior to October 2010, the free service was known as Xbox Live Silver)[60] and a one-month trial of Xbox Live Gold membership (only new accounts are eligible).All Xbox 360s are backwards compatible with supportedXbox titles as long as they have an Xbox 360 HDD attached. This can be purchased separately for the Core/Arcade pack.All hard drives (included with a console or bought separately) come with the Xbox Live Arcade game Hexic HD.Included accessories match the color scheme of the console they are bundled with.All European consoles also include a composite SCART adapter (Advanced SCART AV Cable sold separately).

^a 250 GB Elite consoles and 320 GB Xbox 360 S consoles are/were only available as part of limited/special edition bundles (see below).
^b The standard Composite AV Cable features three RCA connectors, for standard left and right channel audio and composite video, which supports an SD image (NTSC on NTSC consoles, PAL and PAL60 on PAL consoles). It also lacks the TOSLINK connector found on all other (pre-2010) AV cables (including the Component HD AV Cable).
^c The Component HD AV Cable features six RCA connectors, for standard left and right channel audio, composite video and HD component (YPBPR) supporting up to 1080p image.[61] It also features a TOSLINK optical audio connector, which supports either 2 channel (stereo) LPCM or dolby digital 5.1.
^d The audio dongle features two RCA connectors for left and right audio and a TOSLINK optical audio connector.

^eCompilation disk includes Boom Boom Rocket, Feeding Frenzy, Luxor 2, Pac-Man Championship Edition, and Uno.

^f Excluding Mexican and older Australian and New Zealand versions, where a Media Remote is bundled instead.
^gComponent HD AV Cable,[c][h]HDMI cable and HDMI Audio Adapter[d] were included with the 120 GB model prior to September 2009.
^hComponent HD AV Cable is replaced with a D-Terminal HD AV Cable (D 端子 HD AV ケーブル) in Japan.
^i "Transforming D-Pad" controllers feature a d-pad that can be rotated to switch between either a "plus" (4-way) or a "disk" (8-way) d-pad. These controllers also feature different concave analog stick tops than standard controllers.

Special editions[edit]

On a few occasions, Microsoft has produced special editions of the console, usually to coincide with the release of a major product. These special editions are typically custom-colored Xbox 360 models, and are produced in limited numbers.

Xbox 360 Pro special editions[edit]

  • At the E3 2007 press conference, Microsoft announced the Halo 3 Special Edition console, released September 25, 2007. It sports a Halo 3 theme on the console, a wired headset, a wireless controller, and a Play and Charge Kit. Other than the unique "Spartan green-and-gold" color scheme, exclusive dashboard theme and downloads, and an HDMI port,[62] its features were unusual in that it had the HDMI port present only on the elite, but the 20 GB hard drive of the pro.[63] It is priced at US$399.99 and £279.99 (the original price of the Xbox 360).[64]
  • To promote The Simpsons Movie, Microsoft created a specially designed, yellow Xbox 360 Pro console.[65] The configuration was based on the Xbox 360 package of the time, the only difference being the color scheme of the Xbox 360 console and wireless controller. The consoles were to be given out to winners of drawings taking place between July 18, 2007 and July 27, 2007, in which a name was randomly drawn each day in the "10 Days and 10 Chances to Win" sweepstakes.[66] 100 consoles were produced in total.[67]

Xbox 360 Elite special editions[edit]

120 GB models[edit]

  • A Resident Evil 5 bundle containing a red Xbox 360 Elite console was released on March 13, 2009.[68] The bundle also contains a red, wireless controller and a black, wired headset.[69]

250 GB models[edit]

  • On September 15, 2009 Microsoft announced a special 250 GB hard disk limited edition version of the Xbox 360 Elite for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The unit is highlighted by special game product branding and includes two wireless controllers and a headset. This was the first Xbox 360 announced to come with a 250 GB hard drive.[70]
  • A Final Fantasy XIII 250 GB limited edition bundle of the Xbox 360 console was announced on February 11, 2010 and was released to coincide with the release of Final Fantasy XIII (March 9, 2010). The bundle includes an imprinted white 250 GB Xbox 360 Elite (Final Fantasy XIII imprinted where HDD size imprint goes), two wireless controllers, a copy of Final Fantasy XIII and exclusive downloadable avatar items. Other than the HDD imprint, this console is cosmetically identical to the discontinued Pro models.[71]
  • In March 2010, Microsoft announced a special limited edition black Xbox 360 Elite console for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction. The unit includes a 250 GB hard drive, two black wireless controllers, a black wired headset, an Ethernet cable, a standard definition Composite A/V cable, and the standard edition version of the game.[72]
  • A bundle including a standard Elite finish the game Forza Motorsport 3.[70]
  • A bundle including a standard Elite finish the games Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST.[73]

Xbox 360 S special editions[edit]

250 GB models[edit]

  • A Halo: Reach special edition bundle was made available concurrently with the game on September 14, 2010. It consists of a custom branded silver 250 GB Xbox 360 S console, two silver and black branded controllers, a black wired headset and a copy of the game. The press release in which it was announced also revealed that it "not only captures the look and feel of the game, but also features custom sound effects from the Halo universe". The bundle retailed for US$399. The branded controllers and headset were also sold as standalone products.[74][75]

320 GB models[edit]

  • In June 2011, Microsoft announced a "Limited Collector's Edition" (LCE) Xbox 360 S console to coincide with the launch of Gears of War 3.[52] The console features a high-gloss red finish with black Gears of War 3 Branding.[52] Unlike other Xbox 360 S consoles, the Gears of War 3 LCE features a 320 GB hard drive[52] and sounds from the Gears of War 3 game are played when the console is switched on and off or the disc tray is opened.[76] It is bundled with two custom branded gloss red Gears of War 3 wireless controllers, a wired headset, a copy of the game and a download code for additional in-game content.[52] It was released on September 20, 2011.[52]
  • On July 21, 2011, Microsoft announced the "Limited Edition Kinect Star Wars Bundle".[53] The bundle includes a 320 GB Xbox 360 S console, which features R2-D2-based artwork and custom R2-D2-themed power on/tray eject sounds, a white Kinect sensor, a gold and black C-3PO themed wireless controller, a copy of Star Wars Kinect and Kinect Adventures, and exclusive downloadable content.[53] It was subsequently delayed until April 3, 2012.[77][78]
  • On September 2, 2011, Microsoft announced the "Limited Edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Bundle". The bundle includes a 320 GB Xbox 360 S console, which features Modern Warfare 3 based artwork and custom Modern Warfare 3 themed power on/tray eject sounds, two Modern Warfare 3 themed wireless controllers (with transforming d-pad), a black wired headset, and a copy of the game.[55] The console was released on November 8, 2011 in North America, Australasia and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region.[55]
  • On July 14, 2012, Microsoft announced the "Limited Edition Halo 4 Bundle". The bundle was released on November 6, 2012, alongside the game.[79] The bundle includes a 320 GB Xbox 360 S, featuring a translucent case with Halo 4 themed artwork and power on/tray eject sounds, two exclusive Halo 4 themed wireless controllers, a wired headset, a copy of the game, and exclusive DLC.[79] The ring of light and power indicator on this console and its accompanying controllers are blue rather than the green found on other Xbox 360 models.[79]

Xbox 360 E special editions[edit]

500 GB models[edit]

  • In early September 2014, 10 months after the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft announced a special edition of the Xbox 360 E, called the "Xbox 360 Special Edition Blue Bundle".[80] This model differentiated itself from the standard variants with its solid blue shell with turquoise accents, its 500 GB hard drive, since the regular models either came with a 250 GB drive, or offered 4 GB of onboard storage. This bundle came with download codes for Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Black Ops II, and a 1-month membership of Xbox Live Gold. It was priced at $249 USD and sold exclusively at Walmart and the Microsoft Store in the United States, starting October 7, 2014.[80]

Xbox 360 Launch Team Edition[edit]

The Launch Team console with controller

A white console with green accents was released in 2005 only to the Xbox 360 Launch Team as a gift from Microsoft. The consoles came complete with a 20 GB HDD also in green to match the top and bottom sections that are typically grey in color. The HDD plate was also personalized and engraved with the team member's gamertag, with a few examples of non-gamertag engravings such as the console release date "November 22, 2005" or "3 Years of Pain".[81] The consoles came with a limited issue controller to accompany the console. The grey trim on the controller is also replaced with molded green plastic to match the console. Each console came with a plain white faceplate. However, as an additional gift, each team member was given an additional packaged faceplate with one of a kind art with the caption "I Made This" on the USB door of the faceplate. Very few examples have been sold off from original team members' collections. Larry Hryb, better known as "Major Nelson", is known to own one which he displays pictures of on his website having been a member of the Launch Team.[82] The special edition Launch Team console, hard drive, controller and the special faceplate were never sold in stores or meant for the general public. It is unknown how many of these very rare consoles exist today.

Holiday bundles[edit]

As with the original Xbox, Microsoft has continued bundling two video game titles in console retail packaging during the holiday season. During the holidays of 2007, the Xbox 360 Pro and Elite packages were bundled with Forza Motorsport 2 and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.[83] In the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, Forza Motorsport 2 was bundled with Viva Piñata.[84]

Holiday 2008 Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Elite packages were bundled with Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures and Kung Fu Panda, while Arcade consoles were bundled with Sega Superstars Tennis.[8] Holiday 2009 packages included an Elite console, LEGO Batman and Pure.[85] Holiday 2010 bundles included a 250 GB Xbox 360 S console, Forza Motorsport 3 and a voucher to download Alan Wake from the Xbox Live Marketplace.[86]

Two bundles were available in the 2011 holiday season. The first, which retailed for US$399.99, contained a 250 GB Xbox 360 S, Kinect sensor, a copy of Kinect Adventures, a download voucher for Carnival Games: Monkey See Monkey Do and 3 months of Xbox Live Gold. The second, which retailed for US$299.99 contained a 250 GB Xbox 360 S, Fable III, a download voucher for Halo: Reach, and 3 months of Xbox LIVE Gold.[87]

During the 2012 holiday season, Microsoft released several Xbox 360 S bundles at temporarily discounted prices, including a 4 GB Xbox 360 console with a Kinect sensor, Kinect Adventures, and Kinect Disneyland Adventures for US$249.99; and a 250 GB Xbox 360 console with a physical copy of Forza Motorsport 4 (Essentials Edition) and a digital download voucher for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for US$249.99.

For the 2013 holiday season, there were three Xbox 360 S bundles available, with each including one month of Xbox Live Gold. The 250GB Kinect Holiday Value Bundle included Kinect Sports: Season Two, Kinect Adventures!, and a download voucher for Forza Horizon. The 4GB Kinect Holiday Value Bundle included Kinect Sports: Season Two and Kinect Adventures!. The 250GB Holiday Value Bundle included Halo 4 and a download voucher for Tomb Raider.

In 2014, three Xbox 360 E bundles were sold, all with one month of Xbox Live Gold included. The 500GB Holiday Value Bundle included Call of Duty: Ghosts and a download voucher for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. A similar bundle, with a blue console and controller, was sold at Walmart. A 4GB Kinect Bundle was sold at Target, including Kinect Adventures!, Kinect Sports, and Forza Horizon.


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