Microsoft XBox (X0061-001, Product ID 521)
The dream of Bill Gates entering the home console race was announced in 1999 and finally realized on November 15, 2001 when the Microsoft XBox released in the United States. The system debuted at $299.99 USD and boasted broad-band capabilities right out of the box and a DVD drive. Of the next-gen systems XBox was the fastest and graphically superior one of them all. The XBox also had packed into it a 8G hard drive, nearly eliminating the need for pricey memory cards and a nVIDIA XGPU chip for graphics @250 MHz. The only problems in the first batch of Xboxes was that due to the use of a Windows 2000 Kernel based OS, the XBox was plagued with problems similar to those of a PC: skipping and freezing. Regardless, I haven't had problems with any systems of with the manufacture date after December 2001. The other problems: weight and controller design of the original. Not only is the system heavy (nearly 9lbs.), so was the first controller. The controller is an uncomfortable shape, similar in design to some Microsoft Sidewinders. Even with small hands, the button arrangement is too close together. Microsoft tried to alleviate this a few months later by releasing their Controller S design. It was smaller and the black and white buttons were moved to a different spot; apparently to be in an easier spot to use when playing sports games.
As stated before, the system comes with broadband and DVD capabilities. So what does this mean? Well, you can play online as of November 2002 with a cable modem or faster connection. If you use the standard 56K phone connection, you unfortunately won't be playing on Xbox Live. As for the DVD drive, everyone is SOL. A DVD Playback Kit that retails for $29.99 USD is required for DVD usage. During the 2002 summer, Microsoft was offering a $30 USD rebate for those who bought the Playback kit and the Xbox system at the same time between the months of July and August. You may record CDs into the hard drive and create your own soundtrack to listen to while playing certain games. Another plus for parents is that they can set a parental block (similar to those found in cable networks) to limit the use of games with ratings such as M, T, etc. and also DVDs that are watched.
In order to play DVDs on the XBox, a DVD Playback Kit (which retails for $29.99 USD) is required. In order to boost the sales of the DVD Playback Kits, Microsoft developed a rebate program
After immediate poor sales in both Europe and Japan, Microsoft drops the price of the X-Box in Europe by about $100 USD. For all those who purchased a system on release day, they received a voucher for 2 free games and a free controller. In the United States, Microsoft planned to announce a price drop during the E3 2002 that the X-Box would go from $299.99 USD to $199.99 USD. Sony caught upon this and dropped the price of their Playstation 2 and PS One on May 14, 2002 which made Microsoft follow suit and drop theirs about a week before planned. In September on 2002 for every customer that purchased a Xbox and a DVD Playback Kit on the same transaction, they would receive a rebate slip for $29.99 in order to boost sales of the DVD aspect of the system.
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