The Xbox is a video game console manufactured by Microsoft. It was first released on November 15, 2001 in North America. Xbox is the predecessor to the Xbox 360. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market, and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2, Sega's Dreamcast, and Nintendo's GameCube. The integrated Xbox Live service allowed players to compete online. The Xbox was discontinued in late 2006.
The Xbox first edition was initially developed by a small Microsoft team that included game developer Seamus Blackley. Popular launch games for the console included Dead or Alive 3, Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, Halo: Combat Evolved, Fuzion Frenzy and Project Gotham Racing, Jet Set Radio Future. The name for the Xbox was originally the DirectX box as it came from a group of Microsoft DirectX developers, but later changed to Xbox after focus testing. Nvidia ceased production of the Xbox's GPU in August 2005, which marked the end of Xbox production. The Xbox 360 had superior storage, audio and video capabilities compared to the original Xbox.
The Xbox was the first video game console to feature a built-in hard disk drive, used primarily for storing game saves and content downloaded from Xbox Live. This eliminated the need for separate memory cards. An Xbox user could rip music from standard audio CDs to the hard drive, and these songs were used for the custom soundtracks in some games. The Xbox was the first gaming product to feature Dolby Interactive Content-Encoding Technology, which allows real-time Dolby Digital encoding in game consoles. Previous game consoles could only use Dolby Digital 5.1 during non-interactive "cut scene" playback. The Xbox is based on commodity PC hardware and is much larger and heavier than its contemporaries. This is largely due to a bulky tray-loading DVD-ROM drive and the standard-size 3.5 inch hard drive. The Xbox has also pioneered safety features, such as breakaway cables for the controllers to prevent the console from being pulled from the surface it rests on.