The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft, and was developed in cooperation with IBM, ATI, and SiS. The integrated Xbox Live service allows players to compete online and download content such as arcade games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, and movies. The Xbox 360 is the successor to the Xbox, and competes with the PlayStation 3 by Sony and the Wii by Nintendo as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles.
The Xbox 360 was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information divulged later that month at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The console sold out completely at release (with the exception of Japan) and, as of February 22, 2008., 18 million units have been sold worldwide according to Microsoft. The Xbox 360 comes in three different versions, the "Arcade" console, the "Premium" console, and the "Elite" console, each having its own selection of included and available accessories. Another version of the Xbox 360, called the "Core" which was available from launch, has since been discontinued for retail and replaced with the "Arcade".
Known during development as Xenon, Xbox 2, Xbox FS, Xbox Next, or NextBox, the Xbox 360 was conceived in early 2003. In February 2003, planning for the Xenon software platform began, and was headed by Microsoft vice president J Allard. That month, Microsoft held an event for 400 developers in Bellevue, Washington, to recruit support for the system. Also that month, Peter Moore, former president of Sega of America, joined Microsoft. On August 12, 2003, ATI signed on to produce the graphic processing unit for the new console, a deal which was publicly announced two days later. The following month, IBM agreed to develop the triple-core CPU for the console. Before the launch of the Xbox 360, several alpha development kits were spotted using Apple's Power Mac G5 hardware. This was due to the system's PowerPC 970 processor running the same PowerPC architecture that the Xbox 360 would eventually run under IBM's Xenon processor.
The Xbox 360 has suffered from above average technical issues, which has resulted in Microsoft extending the warranty to three years for "general hardware failures".
The Xbox 360 was released on November 22, 2005, in the United States and Canada; December 2, 2005, in Europe and December 10, 2005, in Japan. It was later launched in Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, India, Brazil, Poland, Czech Republic, and Russia. Microsoft has additionally announced official launches in: Hungary, Slovakia, and the Philippines. In its first year on the market, the system launched in 36 countries, more countries than any console has launched in a single year. Due to its early launch, the Xbox 360 had a one-year lead on both of its competitors, Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii.
The Xbox 360 can be subject to a number of technical problems. Since the console's release in 2005, the product earned note in the press questioning its reliability and failure rate of the early consoles.
To aid customers with defective consoles, Microsoft has extended the Xbox 360's manufacturer's warranty to three years for general failure errors. "General Hardware Failure" is recognized by three adjacent quadrants of the ring flashing red. This error is often known as the "Red Ring of Death".
Since these problems surfaced, design modifications have been made to the console to improve reliability. All consoles manufactured after June 2007 have extensive revisions from the earliest units. Modifications include a reduction in the number, size and placement of components, and the addition of dabs of epoxy on the corners and edges of the CPU and GPU, as glue to prevent movement relative to the board during heat expansion, and a second GPU heatsink to dissipate more heat.