The Amibox Project
The games console industry, enter the X-box
In 1994, Sony released the PlayStation games console. The Playstation developed by Sony Entertainment in partnership with Nintendo, and was essentially a “SNES” (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) with a CD-Rom drive. For some reason which I don’t care to recall at this point, the partnership between Sony and Nintendo broke down, but Sony forged on and released the console anyway.
Amiga had attempted to compete in this market too, releasing the Amiga CD-32 in 1993, a whole year before the PlayStation. While they did sell plenty of units, unfortunately the Amiga CD-32 did not do so well in the games console market. I would speculate that this was because it competed with the Amiga-600 and Amiga-1200 computers. Gamers at the time were faced with the choice of buying the CD-32 for it’s CD-ROM drive, or an Amiga which was capable of more or less the same, but with floppy drives. As the CD-32 did not come with a keyboard, and was therefore essentially not programmable, and that a CD-ROM drive could be added to Amiga-600 and 1200 machines, the CD-32 was not necessarily the obvious choice.
The Playstation was released a year later, it became the dominant games console of the time, essentially killing off sales of the Amiga CD-32.
Sony went on to release the PlayStation 2 in 2000, a year ahead of its main rival, the XBox, being developed by Microsoft. The XBox released in november of 2001. This was a big move for Microsoft. Microsoft had not really had a hand in computer hardware or the games console market at that time. Of course fans of the original Playstation were skeptical that Microsoft could enter the games market, which at that time was solidly dominated by Playstation 1 & 2. Never the less, Microsoft didn’t just enter the market, they legitimately carved out a swathe of it. The original XBox, for it’s time, was a BEAST of a console.
The XBox was essentially a cut-down version of a PC of that era, with a 733Mhz Pentium processor and an nVidia graphics processor, and 64MB of RAM. The operating system was essentially a stripped out and specialized build of Microsoft Windows. This is hardly surprising from Microsoft, but should not be scoffed at, it was a very powerful setup for it’s day.