Taito was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the Taito Trading Company as an import company. They first stated by importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. By 1973, they entered the very lucrative video market with the release of Soccer and Davis Cup and imposed themselves as a major player 5 years later with the release of Space Invaders.
By 1985, Taito entered the Karaoke Market with the X-2000, the first on-line karaoke in the world, using a phone line to connect to the online services. At the beginning of the 90’s, Taito started to work on the Taito WoWoW, a new online video game console that would use the same technologies to stream games from the Internet. Although the WoWoW would never see the light of day, Taito decided to instead release a home karaoke system that would include the ability to stream games.
In December 1995, Taito finally released the X-55, the first online karaoke system for home users. The system was built around a 9,600 bps modem. The system would allow to “reserve” up to 10 songs in advance which would allow them to be downloaded in the background while a song was being played by the system. At release, the Taito catalog would include more than 10,000 songs The X-55 also released with two available games Space Invaders 1995 and Cleopatra Fortune with the promise of 10 other games to be released in 1996.
Although the X-55 did fairly well with around 200,000 units sold, Taito decided to release a new version that would be both cheaper and have a faster connection speed.
In 1996, Taito released a successor to the X-55 called the Mediabox M-88. The M-88 introduced a 14,400bps modem which would reduce the average download time for a song to 35 seconds.
Being an online console, there was the services fee for almost everything including ¥1,500 per month for the activation fee, ¥30 per songs played, ¥50 per games played, etc.
The Mediabox M-88 stayed the gold standard of online karaoke system until 2002 where Taito released the X-01, the last model in their online karaoke series, which was a much-needed update to face the ever-growing competition of home consoles.
This is an incomplete list of available games for the systems:
- Space Invaders 1995
- Cleopatra Fortune+
- Quiz Monoshiri Ichizoku – Yoake Maki
- Quiz Monoshiri Ichizoku – Yūyake Maki
- Puzzle Bobble
- Honkaku Mahjong Kōshi – Mahjong Company
- Royal Golf
- Puzzle Bobble EX
- Honkaku Gomokunarabe – Goshasei
- Honkaku Shōgi – Kishinsen
- Othello Game