The Xbox is a home video game console and the first installment in the Xbox series of consoles manufactured by Microsoft. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, followed by Australia, Europe and Japan in 2002. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market. It is a sixth generation console, and competed with Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's GameCube. It was also the first console produced by an American company since the Atari Jaguar ceased production in 1996.