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Xbox system software

The meaning of «xbox system software»

The Xbox system software is the operating system developed exclusively for the Xbox consoles.[1] Across the four generations of Xbox consoles, the software has been based on a version of Microsoft Windows and incorporating DirectX features optimized for the gaming console. The user interface, the Xbox Dashboard, provides access to games, media players, and applications, and integrates with Xbox Live for online functionality.

Though initial iterations of the software for the original Xbox and Xbox 360 were based on heavily modified versions of Windows, the newer consoles feature operating systems that are highly compatible with Microsoft's desktop operating systems, allowing for shared applications and ease-of-development between personal computers and the Xbox line.

Across all four generations of the Xbox platform, the user interface of the system software has been called the Xbox Dashboard. While its appearance and detailed functions have varied between console generations, the Dashboard has provided the user the means to start a game from the optical media loaded into the console or off the console's storage, launch audio and video players to play optical media discs, or start special applications for the Xbox such as streaming media services from third parties. The Dashboard also provides a menu of settings and configuration pages for the console that the user can adjust.

The Dashboard has supported integration with the Xbox Live service since November 2002. Xbox Live provides online functionality to the Xbox, including friends list, game achievement tracking, matchmaking support for online games, in-game communications, and a digital game storefront. While some portions of the Xbox Live service are free, a subscription-tier Xbox Live Gold is generally required to play most multiplayer games on the console.

Starting with the Xbox 360 and continuing through its current consoles, Microsoft has offered a means for users to opt into a beta test version of the console's system software. When first launched for the Xbox 360 in September 2010, this was called the Xbox Live Preview Program, and initially required an invitation from Microsoft after applying for the program.[2] On the release of the Xbox One in 2014, the program was renamed to Xbox Preview Program, and Microsoft made this program open to all rather than restricting through invitation.[3][4] Later in November 2016 rebranded to the Xbox Insider Program, corresponding to the similar Windows Insider program for those testing its computer operating system. With the Xbox Insider Program, testing not only included updates to the system software but upcoming game and application patches from both first and third-parties.[5]

Each iteration of the Xbox software has brought some form of backward compatibility to the newer console. On the Xbox 360, selected original Xbox console games could be played through emulation after downloading an emulation profiles to local storage.[6] The Xbox One was not initially shipped with backward compatibility support, but was later added by January 2015 by another emulator to support selected Xbox 360 games, with hundreds of titles added over the following years.[7] A similar emulator was developed and released in October 2017 for the Xbox One for a limited selection of original Xbox console games.[8] Achieving Xbox One-backward compatibility on the Xbox Series X and Series S was a target goal for the newer consoles, and as such, these new consoles are fully backward compatible with all games in the Xbox One library with the exception of those requiring Kinect support. The supported list includes the Xbox and Xbox 360 games that were playable via emulation on the Xbox One.[9]

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