Here Are The Xbox One Designs That Didn’t Make The Cut
Neither next-gen console has a particularly appealing design but they are functional and adequate. That said, the Xbox One is pretty sizeable however Microsoft didn’t just settle for the simplest and easiest design they could come up with. The console’s design team went through a number of concepts and prototype designs before finally arriving on the box we’re now familiar with.
Xbox creative director Carl Ledbetter showed off many of these scrapped designs at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2013. If you thought the console went through a lot of redesigns, the enw Kinect sensor was no different. It seems simple enough – a prismic plastic shell with a lens offset to one side. What’s so hard about that? Evidently they put a lot of effort into materials, textures, finishes and details.
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Ledbetter characterized Microsoft’s approach as “understated” and “approachable.”
“We wanted to make it simple and elegant, and we wanted it to be crafted and tailored, so it’s all about quality,” Ledbetter said. “Using those principles, we started to design.”
The design team, comprising around 30 people, started out with the sketches you see above before handing those designs over to an in-house model shop that would build prototypes [below]. The prototype models were tested in real world environments such as living rooms. The team would then consult engineers to determine how the internal components would fit inside.
This back and forth process was carried out numerous times in order to finally arrive at the present design for Xbox One.
“The design you see here,” Ledbetter said over a slide of the final Xbox One design, “this is where we start to apply things like gloss and matte finishes. How does the vent pattern look? How does the brand come through the front? How do we make the font look high quality, just like the high definition televisions in people’s living rooms?”
Pretty insane, right? Given what a fuss people made of Sony’s lack of a PS4 at the console’s reveal and how much fun was poked at the “fat” PS3, you can see why design is so important. The thing is also going to sit near your TV for a good few years so you want it to be something that at least looks acceptable.
What’s even more ridiculous is the number of designs Microsoft burned through for the Xbox One controller. Here’s a number – 200. That’s how many prototypes they came up with. “We found that, when people put these in their hands, could tell the difference between a 10th of a millimeter in size,” he said.
The level of detail and scrutiny that these designs underwent is staggering and gives new perspective and appreciation to what went into simply designing these new consoles, let alone the hardware inside them. Then again, the PS4 looks an awful lot like a PS2 slimline that got squished so I don’t think Sony put in quite the same amount of effort.