The original Xbox launch, in hindsight, probably ranks about 'okay' in terms of how it was received and how many units the console would go onto sell. It was a launching platform for an entire brand that didn't quite find its feet until the release of the Xbox 360. In an 'Ask Me Anything' over at Yarbly, co-founder Ed Fries discussed what he would change about that launch, and also discussed his cynicism over Virtual Reality.
But first: if he could change anything about the launch of the original Xbox, what would it be?
"Probably the easiest answer is the controller," said Fries. "A lot of people hated the big controller we shipped with the first version. Fortunately we had been developing a smaller controller for Japan and were able to switch that in to be the standard controller for the rest of the world pretty quickly after launch. Other than that, given how quickly we had to get everything together for launch I think we made pretty good decisions and got lucky that more didn't go wrong."
I actually suffered with my launch controller for a long, long time. It was only when I moved to Japan and bought a second Xbox that I got to grips with the smaller controller, which was initially designed for the Japanese audience. That adjustment, and its evolution with the Xbox 360, has resulted in one of my all-time favourite controllers of all time.
Interestingly enough, despite no longer working for Microsoft, Fries seems legitimately sceptical about the potential of Virtual Reality. Particularly with the recent failure of 3DTV technology.
"Given how little success the consumer electronics companies have had with 3D TVs with glasses," he explains, "I am skeptical that general users are going to be strapping this thing onto their face any time soon.
"I hear rumors about all kinds of cool stuff but will it make it to market?"