Xbox 360 Controller
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

While the original Xbox outclassed the PlayStation 2 when it came to pure specs, it couldn't get close to the market penetration that Sony's console enjoyed – which made the stunning success of its successor, the Xbox 360, all the more remarkable.

Microsoft's Xbox division did something that was deemed to be impossible just a few years beforehand by going toe-to-toe with its Japanese rival; while the system was still outsold by the PS3, the margin was quite small – 84 million units compared to the PS3's 87.4 million – and, in the west, the system enjoyed particularly robust commercial success.

That's not to say that the battle between the two formats went totally to plan; Microsoft had to deal with the infamous "Red Ring of Death" issue, which caused 360 consoles to shut down.

This period in Xbox's history was overseen by Peter Moore, who had previously worked at Sega. He recently spoke on the 'My Other Passion' podcast (spotted by Pure Xbox), and briefly addressed his time at Xbox, and how the company "encouraged" the console war of the period:

"We encouraged the console wars, not to create division, but to challenge each other, and when I say each other I mean Microsoft and Sony. If Microsoft hadn't of stuck the course after the Xbox, after the red rings of death, gaming would be a poorer place for it, you wouldn't have the competition you have today."

Ironically, of course, neither Microsoft or Sony would emerge as the champion of this particular console war; that honour would fall to Nintendo's Wii, which sold an incredible 101.63 systems.

[source, via]