The Xbox is a game console from Microsoft. It was launched in Europe in 2002. The successor model Xbox 360 has been available since the end of 2005. The next model, the Xbox One, has been on the market since November 2013. With the Xbox, Microsoft reacted relatively late, but successfully, to the good sales figures for game consoles. In the meantime, the Xbox has evolved into a kind of entertainment center. Among other things, it functions as a DVD player, Internet browser and TV receiver.
Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation and the Xbox
The triumph of game consoles began in the late 1970s. The best-known pioneers include Nintendo and Sega, and Sony followed suit with the PlayStation in the mid-90s. Until then, Microsoft had been successful primarily with software. By the end of 2005, Microsoft had sold around 22 million devices. The successor model Xbox 360 has been available in Europe since December 2005 and is much more successful: to date, more than 70 million devices have been sold over the counter. The Xbox One had sold approximately 10 million times by the end of 2014. Compared to Sony’s PlayStation 3, with around 63 million and the PlayStation 4 with 20.2 million sold consoles, Microsoft has had to lose its lead over Sony. Meanwhile, the sales of the Xbox are even declining (as of June 2015).
Xbox Live network and money machine
The Xbox concept also includes the Xbox Live online network. Any Xbox user can connect their console to the Internet and sign in to Xbox Live. The memberships differ between silver and gold members, whereby the gold membership is chargeable. Via Xbox Live, for example, users can play against each other online or download game demos or videos from a special marketplace. Access to Facebook and Twitter is also possible. The online network is another good source of income for Microsoft in addition to console sales.
The online network is a saving source of income for Microsoft due to declining sales figures. Microsoft’s quarterly report, Q1 2015, documents an increase in sales of 30 percent compared to the previous year. Growing user numbers and better customer service are key to growth. In addition, the takeover of the “Minecraft” developer Mojang Microsoft brought additional profits.
The Xbox becomes a television console
With Xbox Live, Microsoft wants to convert the Xbox from a game console to an entertainment center. Gold members have been able to download and watch movies or series on the Xbox Live Marketplace for a long time. Since the end of 2011, subscribers to the pay TV channel Sky have been able to access the content of Sky Go via their Xbox 360 or Xbox One – this includes a large selection of on-demand videos or live sports broadcasts. In addition to Sky Go, the ZDF media library, Netflix, Watchever, Arte TV, Amazon instant video and Napster can also be used free of charge via Xbox Live. Further collaborations with media companies are planned, according to Microsoft.