The Xbox is a sixth-generation video game console produced by Microsoft Corporation. It was Microsoft's first foray into the gaming console market, and competed directly with Sony's PlayStation 2 and the Nintendo GameCube. It was released on November 15, 2001 in North America, February 22, 2002 in Japan, and March 14, 2002 in Europe and Australia. It is the predecessor to Microsoft's Xbox 360 console. It was discontinued in late 2006.