At first glance, the Xbox seems remarkable, especially as it was Microsoft's first console offering and introduced a multitude and competition to the console gaming market. The Xbox was also the first game console with an internal hard drive (which opened the door for downloadable content and local storage of media). It is noteworthy that the Xbox made online gaming easily accessible by including an Ethernet network card.
The Xbox was a member of the sixth generation of home game consoles, as were Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube, and Sega's Dreamcast. What distinguishes the Xbox from the other sixth-generation consoles is that it is ready to use immediately to connect to an Ethernet network. The other consoles had accessories in the form of clunky add-ons (or hardware updates in later models) that made online and / or LAN games possible, but they lacked the elegance of the Xbox's built-in network interface. Setting up a huge Halo LAN party was as easy as getting the Xbox to a friend's house and plunging into their network thanks to the Xbox's built-in NIC.
Plus, you could easily play online against your friends with Xbox Live thanks to built-in connectivity. Although we take the idea of console manufacturers who offer a gaming network for granted, in the early days it was very disorganized. Microsoft introduced the package with Xbox Live, while other console manufacturers dropped the ball. In the early days, for example, Sony relied on gaming companies to provide their own servers for online gaming. As a result, the online experience of using a PlayStation 2 was not uniform, the quality of the game varied wildly, and as the gaming companies folded or diverted their efforts elsewhere, they took the game servers with them.
The Other The console manufacturers have finally caught up, and the seventh-generation consoles contained either Ethernet or Wi-Fi connectivity and a unified game server, but in the early days of online gaming, the Xbox prevailed.
Image courtesy of Microsoft.