The Xbox 360 was officially unveiled on MTV on May 12, 2005, with detailed launch and game information divulged later that month at theElectronic Entertainment Expo (E3). The console sold out completely upon release in all regions except in Japan.
Some major features of the Xbox 360 are its integrated Xbox Live service that allows players to compete online, download arcade games, game demos, trailers, TV shows, music and movies and its Windows Media Center multimedia capabilities. The Xbox 360 also offers region specific access to third-party media streaming services such as Netflix and ESPN in the US or Sky Player in the UK.
At their E3 presentation on June 14, 2010, Microsoft announced a redesigned Xbox 360 that would ship on the same day. The redesigned console is slimmer than the previous Xbox 360 model and features integrated 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, TOSLINK S/PDIF optical audio output, 5 USB 2.0 ports (compared to the 3 from older versions) and a special AUX port. Older models of the Xbox 360 have since been discontinued. The first new console to be released features a 250 GB hard drive, while a later, less expensive SKUfeatures 4 GB internal storage.
With the announcement of the Xbox 360 S, Microsoft have said that they believe that the console is only mid-way through its life-cycle and will continue through 2015. In 2009, IGN named the Xbox 360 the sixth greatest video game console of all time, out of a field of 25.
Known during development as Xbox Next, Xenon, Xbox 2, Xbox FS 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's 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. 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 PowerPCarchitecture that the Xbox 360 would eventually run under IBM's Xenon processor. The cores of the Xenon processor were developed using a slightly modified version of the Playstation 3's Cell Processor PPE architecture. According to David Shippy and Mickie Phipps, the IBM employees were "hiding" their work from Sony and Toshiba.". Jeff Minter created themusic visualization program Neon which is included with the Xbox 360.