Due to the relatively poor sales in comparison to the PS2 (especially in Japan) and the fact the internal hardware required to make the original Xbox was so pricey, each unit lost Microsoft $125 at retail, as it cost them $425 to make but was being sold for $299.
Over time, this stacked up to a whopping $4 billion across 2001-2005 alone.
Could you see that sitting under your TV? It looks like some sleeping Transformer assessing the house for weaknesses before springing forth in the middle of the night and making off with the toaster.
Luckily, Bill Gates and the concept team decided against this hideous design and added a more ‘full’ look, birthing the iconic one we know and love today.
Apparently it was first offered to Apple, who didn’t want any part of investing in something so unproven, but Microsoft – seeing the potential for a new foray into digital entertainment – snapped it up, assumedly loving the idea so much they staked the whole of the Xbox One’s launch day presentation on it a few years after.
Although we all know how well that went…
According to Microsoft’s testers, the regimen behind this is to mechanically push each individual button 4-5 times a second in the factory, leading to 2 million hits overall.
However since the console has been out, Microsoft has done subsequent testing and concluded their new controllers can last up to 3 million pushes and more – also stating they should last about a decade. Hopefully that’ll get hardcore Destiny fans through Bungie’s 10 year DLC and sequel plan.
Like how Sony itself tried to do a Playstation/NES hybrid back in the day until they couldn’t agree on how to split disc/cartridge sales at retail with Nintendo, Bill Gates was in talks with Sony CEO Noboyuki Idei only for the latter to reject the use of Microsoft’s new tech in the already feature-complete PS2.
Gates reportedly took this quite personally, and seeing the PS2 as a major threat to PC gaming and the future of the medium, invested heavily in Xbox as a retaliatory strike.
Except it wasn’t a company – it was a 17-year-old Canadian High School attendee, Mike Rowe, who was trying to get himself established online. Microsoft eventually offered him a console and some games as recompense after it went to trial, and he gratefully accepted. To this day mikerowsoft.com still redirects to Microsoft.com.
It’s pretty crazy when you think about it – the new Xbox One controllers cost such a huge amount to research and put together; yet they’re not that different from the 360 pad when taken at face value – some say even worse.
Instead, that $100 million went into refining everything in a minimalist fashion; from the analogue stick rubber, minor changes in the controller’s shape, sensitivity of the triggers, gyroscope accuracy and loss of the battery pack.
So we all know it was going to be called Direct X-box but did you know there were 35 other names for it before Xbox was picked? Bonus fact: The core team hated the name ‘Xbox’ but it won outright with the feedback teams every time.
Some of the best of the worst were:
– MIND (Microsoft Interactive Network Device)
– E2 (Extreme Experience)
– FACE (Full Action Centre)
– O2 (Optimal Ozone/Optical Odyssey)
– R&R (Reality and Revolution)
– MTG (Microsoft Total Gaming)
– AIO (All In One)
Although it was Microsoft’s first fully online console that really nailed Xbox Live and everything about it, a pretty random statistic is that at around 12.15 inches long, you’d need 485 billion units stacked end-on-end to reach the sun.
They might as well do something with all those red ring’d consoles, right?
So, what do you think? Did these facts tickle your pants or are you a hardcore Xbox fan and had me out-smarted? Either way, It's been a long ride for Xbox and the Xbox One currently stands as one of the biggest in the industry. And remember, Stay Infinite! ∞