Microsoft Xbox 360, the successor of the original Xbox, is perhaps one of the most popular game consoles around, rivaled currently only by Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii. Microsoft officially unveiled the Xbox 360 on MTV in May 2005, and launched it in November 2005. At the time of its release, Microsoft did not have enough units to meet the massive public demand, and, as a result, nearly 10 % of the units sold found their way to eBay auctions where they went for quite extraordinary sums.
The number of Xbox 360 aficionados has gone up since then, particularly in North America, Europe, and Asia. On the negative side, the Xbox 360 has been prone to a number of technical problems since its release, but Microsoft has tackled this issue by offering replacements for faulty consoles and a three-year warranty.
The current bundle comes with an HDMI output, 1080p video support, an ATI Xenos graphics processor, and a triple-core Xenon CPU. You can enjoy gaming with high-definition graphics, and with multi-channel surround sound. In addition, you can enhance your experience with accessories like an HD DVD player, wireless and wired controllers, a wireless steering wheel, wireless headset, a Live Vision camera, a flash-card reader, hard drives in two sizes, a Messenger Kit with an add-on keyboard, and much more.
You can stand your Xbox 360 portable unit both vertically and horizontally; the port (to which you can attach a 20 GB or a 120 GB hard drive) comes on top if you place the console vertically and to the left if you place it horizontally. Keep in mind that the console's orientation should not be changed when there is a disc loaded. Also be sure to place your console on a flat and stable surface, in a dust-free environment if possible. Keep all wires and cords well-arranged and out of the way, so there is no likelihood of anyone tripping over them or of children and pets pulling or gnawing at them.
The games line-up includes games like Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty 4, Halo 3, BioShock, Dead Rising, Project Gotham Racing series, Gears of War and Mass Effect. You can use Microsoft's online gaming service Xbox Live for multi-player gaming with other Xbox subscribers from around the world.
Aside from playing games and downloading new games, the Xbox Live Service also allows subscribers to watch game demos, game trailers, movies, rented movies, TV shows, music, and photos. You can share photos and photo slide-shows with family and friends, adding your own audio as background track.
If you have young children, you will appreciate the parental controls that allow you to keep an eye on your kids' online activities by limiting the kind of games, movies, and music they can access, and allowing only specific, approved online contacts.
To ensure that your experience with the Xbox 360 remains positive, it is a good idea to take sensible health precautions. Set up your console in a well-lit room, use a smaller screen rather than a large one for gaming, and make sure you are not seated too close to the screen when playing. Sit in a comfortable chair and maintain a good and relaxed posture. Don't sit in the same position continuously. Look away from the screen every twenty minutes or so. Get up and take frequent short breaks.
Play games for entertainment, but don't turn your Xbox 360 into the most important thing in your life. That advertisement they made― about the new-born baby flying out the window, growing up as it flies and landing in a waiting grave, ending with the line 'Play More, Life is Short'―should be taken as a chilling warning, not as an exhortation. So 'Live More, Keep Games Short'. Stay healthy and happy in the real world.