Microsoft has been in the console business for far longer than most gamers will remember, starting with the original Xbox in its current lineup bringing PC and console users together. From releasing the original Halo to seemingly buying out every studio on the market, Microsoft has played a part in the console wars for decades. Here is a list of all of Microsoft’s consoles and their release dates.
Related: Every PlayStation console and handheld, and when they were released
The original Xbox was a bit of a beast when it comes to weight, and that extended to the controllers. Two new buttons were introduced to players, with White and Black on the bottom right of the controller. The original controller tended to get hand cramps after a long play session, but that didn’t stop classics like Halo: Combat Evolved from being played until sunrise. It was Microsoft’s first foray into the home console market and was filled with new IPs and exclusives that gave Microsoft its proverbial legs.
Xbox 360 (2005)
The Xbox 360 made controllers lighter, creating an incredibly ergonomic gamepad with batteries that could be swapped out mid-game – the controller is still a default for many PC developers. The Xbox 360 became what critics called the most influential seventh-generation gaming console. Xbox Live has also been streamlined with 360, bringing a simple online party creation that could bounce between games. Finally, the Kinect was released to make the 360 the best-selling consumer electronics device in history.
Unfortunately, the good times were not to last. As the Xbox 360 began to age, the dreaded red ring of death issue began to appear in online forums internationally. While some swore by various fixes, for many consumers it was simply a sign that the fun and games were over. Still, the Xbox 360 ran for eleven glorious years, compared to Xbox’s previous four.
Xbox 360 Slim (2010)
The Xbox 360 Slim, also called Xbox 360 S, was a smaller, faster and quieter version of the Xbox 360. It also notably had a Kinect port, the motion sensor accessory, released a few months after the Slim. . The console had a built-in 250 GB hard drive and also brought wireless networking to the home console.
Xbox 360 E (2013)
A refactor of a refactor, the Xbox 360 E was released on the day of the ill-fated Xbox One E3 presentation. Again, it was smaller, faster, and quieter than the Slim version. This console was announced with the new Games for Gold program, where Xbox owners could play new games for online subscribers.
Xbox One (2013)
The Xbox 360 did wonders for bringing Microsoft into the conversation for game consoles, and then E3 2013 arrived. Microsoft spokespersons took to the stage for E3 and celebrated Xbox One’s ability to charge users if too many people watched a movie, and that trading and borrowing games would be a thing of the past. Forced connectivity, mandatory use of Kinect to monitor users, and a complete loss of backward compatibility (a sore point considering many Xbox 360s failed, leaving users with unusable game libraries) have led many converted Xbox 360 players to consider their options while scratching their heads.
Microsoft was reportedly taken aback by the negative press and started backtracking on some of the claims, although many have already made up their minds. The Xbox One was eventually allowed to operate without Kinect oversight, although Microsoft declined to publicly report Xbox One sales, and Xbox hardware sales figures, going forward.
Xbox One S (2016)
The Xbox One S had a unique feature where it could upscale games to 4K resolution, if you had a TV that could support it. The One S also came with Blu-ray support up to 4K, but it needed an adapter for Kinect – a notable step back from E3 2013, when Microsoft was sure the accessory was required.
Xbox One X (2017)
The Xbox One X was the most powerful in the Xbox One line, and was also the smallest. Figureheads at Microsoft have touted this version as being VR capable, although nothing ever came of this announcement.
Xbox One S All-Digital Edition (2019)
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition was the fourth iteration of the eighth generation system, the Xbox One. The Xbox One X All-Digital Edition, as the name suggests, had no available slot for game discs. Instead, gamers were entirely beholden to the Microsoft Store. This console came with Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, and Forza Horizon 3 (replaced by Fortnite in some regions).
Xbox Series X (2020)
The Xbox Series X is admittedly massive, especially compared to the constant thinning that has occurred over previous generations of Xbox. Notably, this generation of Xbox consoles uses SSDs for storage rather than standard HDDs, and storage can be expanded by the user through a storage expansion slot. The Xbox Series X is also capable of outputting 120 frames per second.
Xbox Series S (2020)
The Xbox Series S is the all-digital version of the Xbox Series X, released in tandem with its counterpart. Between the two Xbox Series, the Xbox Series S is the less powerful than the X, but can produce some titles at similar 120 FPS. The Xbox Series S is less than half the size of the Series X, but can upscale some games to 4K and also stream 4K media.