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Happy birthday, XBox 360

Microsoft employees are still shaking off the hangovers from the massive parties they had (probably) to celebrate the 25th birthday of Windows at the weekend. But while their first child is all grown up, one of their youngest and most successful progeny is just about old enough for school.

OK, the metaphor breaks down at this point, but the nub is: today is the fifth anniversary of the release of the XBox 360.

And what a five years it's been: the 360 surprised everyone by wiping the floor with the PlayStation 3, and then surprised everyone again by being completely beaten by the Wii. It's had all sorts of technical issues (remember the red ring of death?), but a great success with XBox Live and what looks like another big win with Kinect.

The remarkable thing is that, five years down the line, there's absolutely no sign of a replacement. Compare that to the original XBox, which was released in 2001 and replaced four years later. When this generation of consoles was released people said they were so powerful there'd be no need to replace them, and we scoffed. But it looks like they were right.

So, who knows? Perhaps when the XBox 360's tenth birthday rolls round, it'll still be the console of choice for hardcore gamers. By then, though, we reckon something else has to have come along.

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