Announced in 2000, the Xbox, graphically powerful compared to its rivals, featured a standard PC's 733 MHz Intel Pentium III processor. It was also noted for its PC-like size and weight, and was the first console to feature a built-in hard disk. In November 2002, Microsoft launched Xbox Live, a fee-based online gaming service that enabled subscribers to download new content and connect with other players through a broadband connection. Unlike other online services from Sega and Sony, Xbox Live had support in the original console design through an integrated Ethernet port. The service gave Microsoft an early foothold in online gaming and would help the Xbox become a relevant competitor to other sixth-generation consoles. The popularity of blockbuster titles such as Halo 2 contributed to the popularity of online console gaming, and in particular first-person shooters. Despite this and being in second position, ahead of Nintendo's GameCube and Sega's Dreamcast, sales of the Xbox were always well behind Sony's PlayStation 2.

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