This week Microsoft has announced that it has stopped production of Xbox 360 consoles after a little over 10 years. The Xbox 360 has been an extremely useful machine for me, and formed an integral part of my computing life.
I closely watched the development of the 360 back in 2005 (I was a bit of a fan of J Allard too) but I didn’t make the purchase until a year after the original release of the console.
My first Xbox 360 was the Premium version. It was white and huge with a very loud fan. I actually didn’t time my investment all that well as a slightly upgraded Elite version came out soon after I got mine, but they all supported the same software so it didn’t matter all that much.
Back then the 360’s operating system was very different to the one we have today. The original Dashboard included different colour blades which you navigated through left and right to find the section you wanted. I mostly used it to play Xbox Live Arcade games like Geometry Wars, as well as some of the more blockbuster titles such as Gears or War and Crackdown.
I used a VGA cable to connect the Xbox directly to desktop computer monitor – so I was either using my PC or using my Xbox which meant I often ended up using video and entertainment apps in a window while multi-tasking on the PC and the Xbox 360 usage dwindled.
In 2012 I switched around my computing platform in general and essentially replaced my desktop computer with an Xbox 360 S model. It was way quieter than my original Xbox 360 and has been the only thing plugged into my living room screen since then. (I don’t actually watch any broadcast, cable, or satellite television.)
Over the years the software has seen a huge amount of updates too. The current version is such a long way from the original that it’s quite impressive to think how far the device has come.
I still use my 360 pretty much every day when I am at home. Over the years the main use of the console has changed and now it is mostly used to watch video on Netflix or listen to music on Groove.
Most of the time I just use the media remote which is able to turn on my TV, change the volume, and control the 360 software all without using a controller. Essentially my Xbox 360 has become a Roku – with the option of playing games when I want to.
This year I plan on replacing the 360 with an Xbox One. There are plenty of games I want, but the general improvements to the software and user interface are enough to make a noticeable difference to how I get my entertainment. The coming addition of universal Windows apps means that (hopefully) more Windows applications will run directly on the console.
I won’t lose anything with the upgrade either, as most 360 games are backwards compatible with the Xbox One.
Currently I plan on moving over to the Xbox One after this years Electronic Entertainment Expo. Who knows, there may be some new hardware innovations on the way…