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HomeArtsThe Xbox 360 still reigns supreme 18 years later

The Xbox 360 still reigns supreme 18 years later

Microsoft released their third home video game console, the Xbox One, on November 22, 2013. The hype surrounding the release meant the system was met with massive interest from lifelong fans and casual gamers alike.

The console was the follow-up to the successful Xbox 360, which won the hearts of its users worldwide in the mid-to-late 2000s. The 360 has sold more than 84 million units since 2005, according to Microsoft sales.

The eighth-generation system had two main goals at launch: out-sell rival Sony’s new system, the Playstation 4, and capitalize on the legacy of the 360.

Microsoft failed to achieve either.

Xbox One at launch in 2013.
Xbox One at launch in 2013. Photo credit: Polygon

Looking back, the Xbox One was a flop.

Many argue Microsoft is still feeling the effects to this day. Despite the new Series X/S console performing well across the board, Microsoft was never able to recover and bring the Xbox brand back to its glory days when the 360 became the sixth best-selling console of all time in 2009.

It’s been ten years since the Xbox One was released.

Let’s take a look back at how the system’s predecessor, the Xbox 360, proved itself as Microsoft’s best console of all time.

A point in favour of the 360 is how the console was able to capitalize on the wave of multiplayer gaming that dominated the video game industry in the mid-2000s.

There was never a bigger time in gaming for connecting online with other players, as multiplayer gaming was on the rise around the same time as the console’s release.

Gone were the days of LAN (Local Area Network) parties and walking to your buddy’s house to game. Xbox was able to perfect its online multiplayer service “Xbox Live” during the 360’s lifespan, making almost every title with online support playable.

Although it may seem commonplace now to load up a modern Xbox and get into an online server with lightning speed, without the innovation done to Xbox Live by the 360, there would be no online gaming as we know it.

An innovation this substantial hasn’t yet been replicated by any console to date.

Although online capabilities are important, nothing comes ahead of the video games themselves. When talking titles, the Xbox 360 is once again unmatched when it comes to providing an expansive catalogue of games.

A collection of Xbox 360 games.
A collection of Xbox 360 games. Photo credit: ObjoGaming

The Xbox 360 has a whopping 2,154 titles across every conceivable genre. The console only stopped releasing titles in late October of 2018, 13 years after its release – a testament to the console’s longevity.

The console also included a multitude of ways to play from physical discs to downloadable titles from the Xbox Live Marketplace to the ever-popular but now sadly defunct Xbox Live Arcade, which was a digital sales platform that specialized in smaller downloadable games from both companies and indie developers.

Xbox Live Arcade logo.
Xbox Live Arcade logo. Photo credit: AR12Gaming

The Xbox 360 almost single-handedly launched the now ever-present first-person shooter (FPS) category. Call of Duty‘s hit titles such as Modern Warfare 1-3 and Black Ops 1-3 all got their start during the 360 era.

In addition, Xbox performed well with their console exclusives during this time. Franchises such as Fable, Forza and Gears of War all released multiple installments for the 360, with the most infamous being the Halo series, releasing seven distinct titles for the system.

If that wasn’t enough, the Xbox 360 also featured backwards compatibility. This allowed users to play select past titles from the original Xbox console on the 360.

Although the Xbox 360 is fantastic on its own, when compared to some of the other consoles Microsoft released, it’s clear to see just how perfect the system really was.

Price was the major downfall of the Xbox One, retailing at $499 USD at launch.

In comparison, the 360 was released with a $399 price tag. This was substantially less than its competitor, Sony’s Playstation 3, which had pricing that started at $499 and went as high as $599. This made the 360 a console with serious value for the money.

The 360 also has the upper hand aesthetically. The dashboards (of which Microsoft released four separate, unique designs) still garner praise from nostalgic Xbox gamers, while the Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One designs remain fairly stagnant.

Various Xbox 360 dashboards from across the years
Various Xbox 360 dashboards from across the years Photo credit: The Verge

Pair this with multiple variants of sleek console designs, comfy yet sturdy controllers and a full suite of avatar customization and it’s clear to see just how well-rounded the 360 is.

The 360 is one of the best home console experiences.

Sure, the newer Xbox uses the most advanced technology available, but a revved-up console disguised as a supercomputer doesn’t always make for the best gaming experiences in the long run.

That’s why even 18 years later, the Xbox 360 is still Microsoft’s most prized offering to date, and the best console they have (and may ever) release.