Microsoft Releases Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft, and the successor to the Xbox.

The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles.

A prominent feature of the Xbox 360 is its integrated Xbox Live service that allows players to compete online and download content such as arcade games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, and movies. Major features of the console include its Windows Media Center multimedia capabilities, mandatory support of high definition in all games, movie rentals and game downloads from its online marketplace and the ability to watch HD DVD movies with an add-on drive.

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, and, as of January 5, 2009, 28 million units have been sold worldwide, according to Microsoft. The Xbox 360 is currently available in three configurations—the "Arcade," the "Pro," and the "Elite"—and each has its own selection of accessories.

Known during development as Xenon, Xbox 2, Xbox FS, Xbox Next, or NextBox, the Xbox 360 was conceived in early 2003. In February 2003, planning for the Xenon software platform began, and was headed by Microsoft's Vice President J Allard. That month, Microsoft held an event for 400 developers in Bellevue, Washington to recruit support for the system. Also that month, Peter Moore, former president of Sega of America, joined Microsoft. On August 12, 2003, ATI signed on to produce the graphic processing unit for the new console, a deal which was publicly announced two days later. Before the launch of the Xbox 360, several alpha development kits were spotted using Apple's Power Mac G5 hardware. This was due to the system's PowerPC 970 processor running the same PowerPC architecture that the Xbox 360 would eventually run under IBM's Xenon processor. The cores of the Xenon processor were developed using a slightly-modified version of the PlayStation 3's Cell Processor PPE architecture. According to David Shippy and Mickie Phipps, the IBM employees were "hiding their work from Sony and Toshiba."

The Xbox 360 is Microsoft's newest video game console, the successor to their original Xbox. It was released on November 22, 2005 in North America, December 2 in Europe, and December 10 in Japan. It will be released on February 2, 2006 in Mexico, February 24 in South Korea, and March 2, 2006 in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.