Today, we wrap up our discussion of the console wars by taking a look at Microsoft’s Xbox which was announced in 2001. The early 2000s saw a lot of innovation in hardware and games and we’ll cover some of that, but one significant change that would heavily influence the industry was actually pioneered by that doomed Sega Dreamcast was Internet connectivity. Sony’s Playstation 2, released in 2000, and Nintendo’s GameCube, released in 2001, would also include ways to get online, but Xbox’s implementation of a fully unified network that allowed gamers to compete across consoles was the first of its kind. Now, PCs gamers had been playing across networks, particularly within the popular MMORPG genre, since the mid 90s and we’ll spend a couple episodes taking a closer look at the PC’s influence, but today we’re going to focus specifically on how the Internet on consoles helped lead to the prevalence of the competitive gaming and online gaming communities we see today.
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