The Xbox One is an interesting console but perhaps the least interesting thing about the Xbox One is its design. It's big, it's relatively bland, it looks like a VCR or a set-top box. Turns out plenty of that look was deliberate.
On its official site, Microsoft shone the light on Carl Ledbetter, the man behind the design of the Xbox One. It's a console that barely even looks designed — just a big black box with components — but that simplicity was apparently by design.
"We wanted to take every component of what people love about Xbox and amplify it, but also make it disappear into the living room – to stay in the background, robust and reliable," he said.
"We were trying to push boundaries, to do something new and inventive, but there was so much at stake that we had to be really careful as well. The reason why there was so much at stake is that people really, really care about Xbox."
There seems to be this push and pull in design. An attempt to simultaneously create something radical, but also maintain some sort of sense of safety. It makes sense: the Xbox One is supposed to feel like a device from the future but to make Microsoft's dreams of mass market penetration a reality, it also has to feel accessible.
The word 'reliable' is also interesting, considering the massive issues the Xbox 360 had with the 'red ring of death'.
And the idea that the console should 'disappear'. I also find that interesting. Consoles are usually designed to stand out, to be bold. The Xbox One is almost conservative and familiar by design. That's a relatively new idea for video games.
Carl Ledbetter [Microsoft]