The birth of a new console is met with much optimism and excitement. No matter how one feels about a given company, new technology is always something that drives gamers who are passionate for the industry. However, in all my years of covering games and being a hardcore gamer, I have never witnessed a launch of a new console with as much energy and domination as that of Xbox 360.

Months ago, at E3, I watched Microsoft unveil their launch plans for Xbox 360. I doubted every word they said. Call me pro-Sony or anti-Microsoft if you want. But I honestly felt that Xbox 360 was releasing at about a hundred bucks higher than it should have, did not have any AAA titles, Developers would just wait for PS3, and gamers would be angry that the original Xbox had such a short life. I also must admit I was still in awe of what Sony had shown us about PlayStation 3. While it remains to be seen how close the actual PS3 games will be to their infamous press conference showing, Microsoft has managed to steal the hearts and minds of all skeptics and gamers in the world.

Xbox 360 released on November 22, 2005, to lines of gamers all over the US. 1.25 Million systems were sold between 12 AM and 11 AM–creating one of the greatest launches of all time. Ebay buyers also purchased 138,000 of these systems–averaging in price at $1,200.00. Microsoft not only nailed the launch, but their 18 launch titles are also very good. Wireless controllers, plug and play recharge kits, extra hard drive units, and some games quickly became impossible to locate anywhere in the US.

How far did some gamers go to get an Xbox 360? Our very own staff here at CVGames was a part of this launch. Nintendo Content Editor, Andrew, waited in line from 8 PM until 9 AM to grab his very own Xbox 360 at a Best Buy. Sports Writer, Antoine, went to a midnight release party at Gamestop for his console. Contributing Writer, Michael, traveled multiple states to see his in-laws and still managed to wait at Wal-Mart from 3:00 PM until 1:30 am to grab his Xbox 360.

At various lines, I visited with many gamers. Although the vast majority did not have HDTV’s, they were very excited to play Perfect Dark Zero. The other very popular topic with these gamers was Xbox Live. People were extremely excited about the new interface and being able to communicate with the community. While some wondered about PS3, they all agreed if Sony could not create something similar to Xbox Live, Microsoft may win this round of the console war.

Perfect Dark Zero was the title everyone wanted. However, there was not a clear-cut number two favorite. This is perhaps the biggest weakness in the launch. Personally, I found that Kameo is my favorite launch title. Call of Duty 2 is a close second. Perfect Dark Zero rounds out my top three. However, with 18 games to pick from, players from all genres, besides fighting and RPG, will find something to love.

If you would have told me at E3 that myself and the entire gaming industry would be this excited about the Xbox 360 launch, I would have laughed at you. However, there is just something special about this console. If Microsoft gets the Third Party support they need, some Japanese Developer support, and has a little luck on their side, this could very well become the greatest console ever made. Is that just the hype of the launch talking? No, this is the console that gamers have been dreaming of for years.

Check back with us for our full reviews of the Xbox 360 titles. We will also give you a full review of the hardware.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 11/11/05

Screenshots for Xbox 360: Lets Do Launch