Microsoft Talks About Designing the Xbox One

Microsoft Talks About Designing the Xbox One

Xbox One Prototype Stack

The final Xbox One design was originally one of thirty prototypes.

The Xbox One's physical design could best be described as putting the box back in Xbox. Eschewing things like rounds and curves it's defined by the same ninety degree angles that the world's best engineers embraced at the dawn of the VCR era. We're not saying it's a bad design, and we can certainly appreciate the potential for future console stacking. That said, how much effort could it have taken to turn the Xbox into a literal black box? Quite a bit it would seem.

In fact, while the Xbox One design team would eventually settle for its ninety-degree angles approach, initial design efforts produced around thirty alternative design sketches. The sketches, in turn, were taken to an in-house model shop where they were transformed into 3D prototypes. "We wanted to make it simple and elegant, and we wanted it to be crafted and tailored, so it's all about quality," said Carl Ledbetter, creative director for Xbox, speaking at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference. "Using those principles, we started to design."

The models would be run through a ringer of real world environments, including tests to see how each design would look and fit in "people's living rooms." An engineering team would then look at each design and dermine the best way to fit all the console's internal doohickeys. The extensive testing wasn't limited to just the console itself however, the company would also produce more than two hundred different versions of the Xbox One controller. "We found that, when people put these in their hands, could tell the difference between a 10th of a millimeter in size," said Ledbetter. Whether or not the fruits of Microsoft's efforts wound up being the "understated" and "approachable" design the company was looking for is arguably debatable. That said, it would interesting to see more of the considered alternatives and the different routes Microsoft considered for the Xbox One.

Source: Polygon

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I seriously wonder how bad the alternatives must have been for them to end up with a black angular box.
I have a Harman Kardon BDS 770, and while that also looks like a giant black box the design is much sleeker and it seems to fit so much better.
From what I can tell the XBone and HK770 seem to have the same dimensions but the HK just looks so much better.

It's so strange they chose the laziest, most boring design out of all those potential ones. That really makes me think how bad those designers must have been.

JenSeven:
I seriously wonder how bad the alternatives must have been for them to end up with a black angular box.
I have a Harman Kardon BDS 770, and while that also looks like a giant black box the design is much sleeker and it seems to fit so much better.
From what I can tell the XBone and HK770 seem to have the same dimensions but the HK just looks so much better.

It's so strange they chose the laziest, most boring design out of all those potential ones. That really makes me think how bad those designers must have been.

Exactly what I thought. The knowledge that they had thirty prototypes and ended up with a shiny black cuboid with no distinguishing features isn't going to impress people. I swear Microsoft are self sabotaging with this console, you couldn't make up all of the stupid ideas that they have had.

Don't get me wrong, I don't particularly dislike the design, the way a console looks means very little to me. It's just that admitting to choosing it out of 30 alternatives, suggests a disturbingly large amount of thought went into making a plain black box.

I don't like what's in the Xbone, but I certainly like how it looks. My 360 clashes with everything in my living room, so the Xbone would fit well, if I wanted to buy one.

I have to admit, if that pic is accurate, the one near dead center with the rounded corners and one button was probably the best design. Just sayin'.

What's with the "these are all the names we were gonna go with for the XBOX," and now "these are some of the designs that we were gonna go with for the XBONE" announcements? I don't know why, but it's got me feeling weird. I don't wanna know what you could have done. Talk to me about what you have done, and what you intend to do.

This "MS is living in the past to, perhaps, distract from the present" is weirding me out, man.

If only they had put that much effort into finding out what consumers wanted to stupid box to do. 200 different controllers seemed like a good idea, but the PR team spending five minutes on any game website to predict the negative backlash was to much of an investment.

Ah well, the growing pains of gaming.

tdylan:
What's with the "these are all the names we were gonna go with for the XBOX," and now "these are some of the designs that we were gonna go with for the XBONE" announcements? I don't know why, but it's got me feeling weird. I don't wanna know what you could have done. Talk to me about what you have done, and what you intend to do.

This "MS is living in the past to, perhaps, distract from the present" is weirding me out, man.

And I know why.
I was thinking about the whole thing a while ago and also pitched this to several outlets but nobody seems to be picking it up. Really annoying.
But then again, it's hard to verify.
I'll explain.

A while ago a thought occurred to me about the recent reversal of the XboxOne policies.
They didn't change that much and they announced a lie.

Here is what I do know they changed.
The region lock seems to be gone and the mandatory "once every 24 hours" login is gone.
However they also announced that "offline games can be played on an offline XboxOne" and this is the lie.
It's not a 100% lie, but it certainly isn't the complete truth.

See, the problem here is what defines an "offline game".
I tried asking around and the only one to respond to my questions was former Xbox LIVE Director of Enforcement Stephen Toulouse. He explained it to me like this:
An offline game is a game without ANY features that require an internet connection.

Optional multiplayer and co-op? Online game.
Social media interaction? Online game.
Micro-transactions? Online game.
Posting highscores, achievements or other things online? Online game.
General "Cloud Interaction"? Online game.
Ability to put a save file on "the cloud"? Online game.

They could even make up a non-existing reason to say that it has "cloud interaction".
Now, online games (games which have any of these features) would require a constant internet connection, even single player games.
Microsoft basically shifted their DRM idea onto the publishers and those are all to happy to include these "features" and Microsoft all too happy to allow them.
This means that even though Microsoft said that you can play offline games on an offline XboxOne, that doesn't mean there will be any offline games to play on the damn thing.

I know the hard part will be to prove this, since Microsoft can now refer to the publishers and say that it's up to them and we already know what publishers are like.

The point here is, again if you do not have a stable internet connection or no access to the internet, like most military personnel, you will be unable to play about 95% of all the AAA games.
Publishers love all this DRM stuff and we can be sure they will use this little "loophole" to get some more DRM into the XBone.
So, once more, people in places without a stable, constant internet connection and military personnel will get screwed over in exactly the same way Microsoft screwed them over when they announced the damn thing.

I personally find it extremely good looking. Wont buy it, though id love to get a similar (custom) case for my PC :P .

StewShearer:
The extensive testing wasn't limited to just the console itself however, the company would also produce more than two hundred different versions of the Xbox One controller. "We found that, when people put these in their hands, could tell the difference between a 10th of a millimeter in size," said Ledbetter.

That's actually a really cool factoid!

Next time someone gives me a hard time, says it's 'close enough', and that people won't be able to tell a difference I can now promptly tell him "NUH UH!" and get slapped in the face. For Science!

So they released for us, the all important technical and design decisions that they had to make in order to create... a black box? They spent millions to come up with the same solution they would have gotten had they simply had the junior intern wander down the "do it yourself electronics shit for beginners" aisle at Fry's.

This explains so much.

(Not saying that Sony is any better. At least MS's crack team of designers managed to make a normal squared off box. Sony's crew failed at even that and it came out kinda lopsided.)

i can only imagine a plastic butt with a horn comming out out his pelvic bone, a butticorn if you will as one of the contenders against the current design of the xbox one.

the "new" design is pretty damn generic.
image
and quite ugly.

"we spent millions on prototypes but we decided to go with the rectangular box"

genius!

The Xboner's design reminds me of the old VCRs and betamax players of my youth in the 80's.

JenSeven:

tdylan:
What's with the "these are all the names we were gonna go with for the XBOX," and now "these are some of the designs that we were gonna go with for the XBONE" announcements? I don't know why, but it's got me feeling weird. I don't wanna know what you could have done. Talk to me about what you have done, and what you intend to do.

This "MS is living in the past to, perhaps, distract from the present" is weirding me out, man.

And I know why.
I was thinking about the whole thing a while ago and also pitched this to several outlets but nobody seems to be picking it up. Really annoying.
But then again, it's hard to verify.
I'll explain.

A while ago a thought occurred to me about the recent reversal of the XboxOne policies.
They didn't change that much and they announced a lie.

Here is what I do know they changed.
The region lock seems to be gone and the mandatory "once every 24 hours" login is gone.
However they also announced that "offline games can be played on an offline XboxOne" and this is the lie.
It's not a 100% lie, but it certainly isn't the complete truth.

See, the problem here is what defines an "offline game".
I tried asking around and the only one to respond to my questions was former Xbox LIVE Director of Enforcement Stephen Toulouse. He explained it to me like this:
An offline game is a game without ANY features that require an internet connection.

Optional multiplayer and co-op? Online game.
Social media interaction? Online game.
Micro-transactions? Online game.
Posting highscores, achievements or other things online? Online game.
General "Cloud Interaction"? Online game.
Ability to put a save file on "the cloud"? Online game.

They could even make up a non-existing reason to say that it has "cloud interaction".
Now, online games (games which have any of these features) would require a constant internet connection, even single player games.
Microsoft basically shifted their DRM idea onto the publishers and those are all to happy to include these "features" and Microsoft all too happy to allow them.
This means that even though Microsoft said that you can play offline games on an offline XboxOne, that doesn't mean there will be any offline games to play on the damn thing.

I know the hard part will be to prove this, since Microsoft can now refer to the publishers and say that it's up to them and we already know what publishers are like.

The point here is, again if you do not have a stable internet connection or no access to the internet, like most military personnel, you will be unable to play about 95% of all the AAA games.
Publishers love all this DRM stuff and we can be sure they will use this little "loophole" to get some more DRM into the XBone.
So, once more, people in places without a stable, constant internet connection and military personnel will get screwed over in exactly the same way Microsoft screwed them over when they announced the damn thing.

Both of these mirror my thoughts exactly. Why indeed the release of possible names and possible designs? They should focus instead selling the current look and name to the public. Maybe it could wave been called the XON and been round. But right now it's the Xbox One and it's a nice little black box affair. I really do agree they will manage to make all games online via those mentioned methods. If it updates or interacts with XBL that too might constitute a online game. Who knows. But I'd hate to be someone purchasing the system to find out they've managed to hide such facts.

So, like the list of potential names, it could have been much worse?

...Wow.

Why does it take so much effort to get to a black box?
Why would anyone want a black box anyway?
Can't we get a little variety?

In this day and age why don't they offer these things with more color options and a changeable front panel?
Be honest with yourself, is this thing ever going to be standing anywhere but next to or up or under your video player/stereo/other hardware in a closet or other piece of furniture? With basically only its front showing.

So if you're smart you make the damn thing in as many colors as needed to match those other devices its going to be placed next to. (so basically black, brown and white but you can offer cooler colors if your smart) Make the case easy to open and replace so that other companies can also make casings for this thing, that way people can get some more specialized variety which makes your product more appealing. (something you too can do if you're smart)

And make the front panel very easy to replace, buying just a front panel is much cheaper for people and I'm guessing for most thats the only part they'll ever see of the damn thing once its in place. Maybe reserving some connections for extra led lights, some people like that shit.

It's so damn easy to make your box appealing to look at and fun to play with, but apparently they can even fuck that up too.

Honestly, even if they had to have a box because something like the internals demanded it (which I doubt) they could have put a few LED lights on it for shits and giggles. One of the things I like about the Wii was the big blue light around the disk drive. Not that I care all that much in the long run. I'm mostly glad the ps4 looks small enough to fit on the second shelf of my tv stand because I doubt it would support the weight of my fat ps3

well, not that i would be getting one, but i think it looks way better than 360 looked.

rhizhim:
i can only imagine a plastic butt with a horn comming out out his pelvic bone, a butticorn if you will as one of the contenders against the current design of the xbox one.

the "new" design is pretty damn generic.
image
and quite ugly.

Now that i get a proper look at it what's that gate looking thing about? the fan, it's a real gaudy design indeed

Wait a minute, i see it now!

image

 

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