- The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013, competing with Sony's PlayStation 4 which launched a week later. It aimed to succeed the Xbox 360 and introduced significant improvements in hardware and multimedia features.
- Microsoft expanded the Xbox One line with Xbox One S (2016) and Xbox One X (more powerful, 4K support). Despite these developments, Xbox One sales were significantly lower than PS4, with less than 58 million units sold compared to PS4's 117 million.
- Microsoft faced challenges with Xbox One due to its focus on non-gaming features and high price. Under Phil Spencer's leadership, Microsoft shifted focus back to gaming, leading to the more successful Xbox Series X and S.
2013 was a big year for gamers and tech enthusiasts, you had the unveiling of the PlayStation 4 that set the stage for a new era of console gaming, the revolutionary Oculus Rift prototype at E3 and finally you had the excitement around Microsoft’s newest edition to Xbox’s gaming lineup.
The Xbox One was claimed to be “the biggest launch of an Xbox ever” and whether it delivered that promise or not is what we’ll look into. So, buckle up for another trip down memory lane, exploring the release dates of the original Xbox One and how well Sony’s competitor did in the gaming industry.
Table of Contents
- When Did The Xbox One Come Out?
- Specs and Features of The Xbox One
- Other Models of The Xbox One
- Xbox One Launch Titles
- How Successful Was the Xbox One?
- What Did Microsoft Do Wrong With the Xbox One?
- Which is the Newest Xbox Console?
- Is It Still Worth Buying an Xbox One in 2024?
- Wrapping Up
When Did The Xbox One Come Out?
The Xbox One was released on November 22, 2013, in North America, South America, Australia and parts of Europe. For other countries like Japan, China, and other European countries, Xbox One didn’t come until September 2014. It came as the successor to the Xbox 360 console which had sold 85.7 million units to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 4.
In fact, the Xbox One was released a week before the PS4 launch which came to major countries like Europe, South America, and Australia on November 29, 2013. The Xbox One was released on the same date as the Xbox 360 in North America but with an 8-year gap between their launches.
Specs and Features of The Xbox One
The Xbox One was Microsoft’s take on combining gaming and entertainment into one small VCR-style console design. From watching Netflix to being able to watch live TV even when playing games, Xbox One was all set to being the perfect little home entertainment system. It was originally shipped with the Kinect camera, allowing users to control games using body movements and voice commands.
Compared to its predecessor, Xbox One also had a few improvements and featured an 8-core x86 processor running at 1.75GHz, and 8 GB of RAM. Additionally, the console also introduced a new and improved controller along with the ability to support eight controllers at once. With later updates, Xbox One was also capable of backward compatibility and could run over 600 titles from Xbox 360.
Other Models of The Xbox One
Microsoft expanded the Xbox One lineup to three main models, introducing two new editions named the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X. Let’s take a closer look at both of them.
1. Xbox One S — Disk and Digital Edition
The Xbox One S was the next in line after the Xbox One and brought along a few hardware and quality-of-life changes. The console was introduced in 2016 and had a major redesign making it around 40% smaller than the original Xbox One. On top of that, the console was also 7% faster in terms of overall performance and came with a white theme instead of a black one.
Later on, Microsoft introduced another variant of the Xbox One S in 2019 which was the All-Digital Edition. As it’s in the name, the Xbox One S All Digital Edition didn’t have a disk drive and instead required users to download games through the Microsoft store. Apart from the disc drive change, the console was identical to the normal Xbox One S.
2. Xbox One X
Next, we had the Xbox One X which was around 4.5 times more powerful than the original Xbox One. The best part about the Xbox One X was the ability to watch movies and play games in true 4K. With the Xbox One X gamers could also experience an FPS boost of up to 120 FPS for supported games like Fortnite, COD Warzone, Halo Infinite, and more.
Xbox One Launch Titles
The Xbox One console wasn’t without a handful of solid day-one games and part of its success can be attributed to the strong launch titles such as:
- Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag
- Battlefield 4
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- Crimson Dragon
- Dead Rising
- Fighter Within
- Forza Motorsport 5
- Just Dance 2014
- Ryse: Son of Rome
- Zoo Tycoon
- Zumba Fitness: World Party
The Xbox One revived cross-generation games, with hits like Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag, Battlefield 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts leading the way at its launch. However, both the new exclusive Forza Motorsport 5 and Crimson Dragon disappointed gamers.
How Successful Was the Xbox One?
When it comes to sharing sales numbers for its Xbox consoles and whether they performed well or not, Microsoft has left us in the dark for almost 8 years now. However, that’s not the case anymore, as we now have something to work with thanks to the court documents that were released during Microsoft’s controversial and massive buyout of Activision Blizzard.
According to the court documents, Sony sold over twice as many PS4 consoles as Microsoft’s last-gen Xbox. “Sony has surpassed Microsoft in terms of console sales and installed base, having sold more than twice as many Xbox [consoles] in the last generation.“
While this statement doesn’t give us a clear look into the actual numbers, it still helps us calculate a few. Sony reported lifetime sales of the PS4 exceeding 117 million, whereas the Xbox One fell short at less than 58 million, with estimates indicating a figure closer to 55 million.
What Did Microsoft Do Wrong With the Xbox One?
The Xbox 360 was always more than just a game console, but, what made the Xbox 360 so popular was the gaming part and not the entertainment part. With the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to focus so much on non-gaming features that they marketed it as more of a home entertainment system rather than a gaming system made for gamers. Apart from that, here’s what Microsoft did wrong:
1. The Mandatory Kinect Camera
The Kinect originally made its debut with the Xbox 360 as an optional accessory that steered Microsoft toward the path of the “future of gaming.” While the accessory was great, it was in the end “optional.” However, with the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to make it a mandatory accessory. Every single console would ship with one and users were dragged into using it otherwise your console wouldn’t function.
The Kinect Camera not only made the console more expensive but it also placed Microsoft right in the middle of a security concern (camera and microphone active all the time). Unsurprisingly, Microsoft reverted the Kinect as an optional, leading to its end.
2. Always Online
During the Xbox One announcement, Microsoft also announced that the console would require a constant internet connection at all times. This meant that even when playing a single-player game, you would need an internet connection to Microsoft’s servers at least once every day.
3. Sharing and Buying Games
Microsoft wanted digital gaming with the Xbox One and while the idea was great the execution wasn’t. In the Xbox One’s proposed system, the concept of borrowing a game was not possible as after a disk was used, it was simply useless. This disrupted the entire used games market, leaving gamers to assume that this was a money move toward Microsoft’s digital store.
4. Price Point
The Xbox One launched at $499, $100 more than the $399 PlayStation 4. The price difference was partly due to the mandatory Kinect Camera and apart from that there was nothing to justify the high cost. In fact, due to PS4’s better specs and a smoother launch, the higher cost ultimately hurt Microsoft. This led to the PlayStation 4 taking a big lead in the eighth generation, causing a setback for Microsoft and the Xbox brand.
Less than a month after the E3 2013, the CEO of Microsoft’s Xbox division left the company and was replaced by Phil Spencer. Phil fixed everything that had gone wrong, made Xbox One playable without online connections, and brought back used games.
Which is the Newest Xbox Console?
Currently, Microsoft has two Xbox consoles that serve as the latest model – the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S. The Xbox Series X is a powerful console with 4K resolution, 60fps, and fast load times. The smaller, budget-friendly Xbox Series S, which is digital-only, has a sleek design but is less powerful, offering 512GB storage and limited 4K support.
Is It Still Worth Buying an Xbox One in 2024?
In 2024, it’s not a good idea to get an Xbox One since the prices are close to the newer Series X|S. The latest generation gives better performance and future-proof features. Although current Xbox One owners can still play games, upcoming changes in exclusive titles and Game Pass may make the older console less relevant. Hence, if you have the budget we recommend looking into the newer options.
Whether it’s in a positive way or a negative, it’s safe to say that the Xbox One had a major impact on not only the gaming industry but also on Microsoft. After Xbox One’s multimedia focus approach, Microsft went back to making more gamer-centric decisions with their consoles.
The Kinect camera uses a regular camera, an infrared depth sensor, an infrared projector, microphones, and a movable part. It sees the world in 3D by emitting infrared light and capturing its reflection. This helps track movements and recognize voices for interactive experiences.
Phil Spencer is the CEO of Microsoft Gaming and the head of the Xbox brand. He has been the head of the Xbox brand since 2014 and was appointed as the CEO of Microsoft Gaming in January 2022. Prior to this, he worked in a number of technical roles at Microsoft .
Xbox Game Pass can cost between $9.99 and $16.99 per month, depending on the tier and location. For more details visit the offical Xbox website.