When I unboxed my Xbox One review kit, you could almost hear the plink of an achievement being unlocked. Microsoft wasn’t first to slip those sly little dopamine hits into our brainpans, but it’s the company that made them essential. Look at all those who’ve followed suit: Apple, Google, Valve, and even Sony all but wrestled into aping the competition’s killer idea.
It’s that feature, among others, in Microsoft’s trendsetting Xbox Live suite of services that hoisted Redmond from also-ran to formidable Sony and Nintendo threat: In North America, the Xbox 360 has to date outsold the PS3 by over 17 million units, and Xbox Live is approaching 50 million members, many of them paying Microsoft $60 a year for the privilege (nice work if you can get it, as they say).
Consider the original Xbox, launched in 2001 and a flop by industry standards despite its powerful PS2-smashing…
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