What Is the Original Xbox?

What you need to know about features, pricing, and more

The Microsoft Xbox is a video game system developed by Microsoft. It launched on Nov. 8, 2001, and was the first major console manufactured by an American company since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in the late 1990s. It sold a total of 24 million units worldwide before it was discontinued and replaced by the Xbox 360 console. Here's everything you need to know about it, including features, developer support, and more.

Don't confuse the original Xbox with the Xbox One, which released in November 2013.

XBox
 Evan Amos/Wikimedia CC 2.0

Xbox Features

The original Xbox console launched with the following features:

  • Four controller ports for easy couch co-op gaming.
  • Multi-signal audio/video connections for simple and easy hookup to TVs and home theater systems.
  • Ethernet port for online gaming.
  • Hard drive for game saves, mp3s, and saving downloaded game content.

The Xbox was the first video game console to feature a built-in hard disk drive.

  • DVD player (requires separate DVD Playback Kit).
  • Parental lock on DVD player so you can choose what content is suitable.
  • 32-bit 733 MHz Intel Pentium III processor.
  • 64 MB DDR SDRAM.
  • 233 MHz Nvidia NV2A GPU.

Xbox Online Play

The Xbox allowed people to play games online through their broadband internet connections. It required signing up for Xbox Live, which was done in several ways.

  • Two-Month Free Trials were available with pretty much every Xbox Live compatible game.
  • A Three-Month Trial.
  • The Xbox Live Starter Kit that included 12-months of service, a headset, and a full version of the game MechAssault.
  • An Xbox Live One Year Subscription.

Xbox Game Developer Support

The Xbox had a lot of support from big-name publishers and developers including Atari, Activision, LucasArts, Ubisoft, Vivendi Universal, Rockstar Games, Capcom, Konami, SNK, Sega, Sammy, SNK, Namco, Tecmo, Midway, THQ, and Electronic Arts among many, many others. Microsoft also had its own development studios that produced games exclusively for the console. Racing, shooting, puzzle, action, adventure, sports—every genre was covered.

Xbox Game Content Ratings

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board gives each and every game that comes out a content rating much like the “G” and “PG” ratings for movies. These ratings are posted on the bottom left corner on the front box of every game. Use them to choose games that are appropriate for whoever you are buying for.

  • E = Everyone. Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal violence, some comic mischief and/or mild language.
  • E+ = Everyone 10+. Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes.
  • T = Teen. Content that may be suitable for persons ages 13 and older. May contain violent content, mild or strong language, and/or suggestive themes.
  • M = Mature. Content that may be suitable for ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain mature sexual themes, more intense violence, and/or strong language.
  • AO = Adults Only 18+. Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and/or gambling with real currency.

Video games with an AO rating are pretty rare. The majority of published titles usually fall under the E for Everyone category.