It’s that time again. The end of an era and the beginning of another. As the sun sets on the Xbox 360 and it enters it’s end of life- out to grass on a diet of lighter, more mainstream fayre, we greet it’s successor, not it’s replacement: the Xbox One.
It’s a weird time for me. The Xbox 360 marked the beginning of my new life overseas in New Zealand. Whilst a year and a bit late, the Xbox One marks a similar milestone, this time my new life in Australia. The Xbox One will be the third of Microsoft’s consoles that I’ve had the pleasure of owning, each one purchased in a different country.
I was a latecomer to the original Xbox, being a die-hard PlayStation fan. Lured by the high-fidelity of Microsoft’s first foray into the console market and the adventures of one Master Chief, I picked up the Xbox close to it’s retirement.
Living in a particularly rural part of the UK and out of the 7km limit for broadband I only got to use Xbox Live on the original Xbox for a short time; just before we moved to NZ and for the three months from January 2006 until the release of the Xbox 360. Although I played the PC games online, I was amazed at the ease at which could play and talk to other gamers a world away.
Unlike for the Xbox One, where NZ gamers will be the first to pick up their new consoles, The was a four month wait between the UK and the NZ launch of the Xbox 360. Instead of picking up an Xbox 360 in the UK before we left, I thought it best to wait until we got to our new home in NZ. That way there’d be no problems with software incompatibility or power sockets.
So as I packed up the house for it’s sea voyage to the other side of the world I watched with envy as my countrymen picked up their new consoles. It would be five months later that I’d be standing in the queue outside Glenfield EB Games in Auckland waiting for 12:01 26 March 2006. I left with a shiny new Xbox 360 and a copy of Oblivion.
Over the last (almost) seven years the Xbox 360 has provided me with a level of shear delight, unlike any other entertainment device that I’ve ever owned. From Oblivion to Grand Theft Auto V Microsoft’s machine has always impressed. With first-party franchises like Halo, Gears of War and third-party works of genius like Assassin’s Creed, the reign of Xbox 360 was a true turning point for gaming and an amazing time to be a gamer.
I write this with three hours to go. I’m number six in the queue at Hurstville EB Games, in Sydney Australia. It’s almost time for a third Xbox.
Looking forward, it is impossible to see where Microsoft’s new machine is going to take us. Just as we couldn’t have foreseen our little avatars back in the days of the blade UI, or the motion sensing Kinect, the future of Xbox One remains hidden and likely bey0nd our wildest dreams.