Microsoft examined more than 75 sketched and 3D-printed prototypes of the Xbox One console alone before settling on the final look, senior industrial design manager Carl Ledbetter revealed as part of a new Microsoft retrospective feature on the design of the console.
In addition to going over a host of possibilities for the console itself, Ledbetter and his team drafted more than 100 designs for the updated Kinect unit and over 200 of the new Xbox One controller.
“We were extremely thorough,” Ledbetter 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.”
Regarding the new controller, Ledbetter said his team was never asked to make improvements to the Xbox 360 controller because the sentiment was, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." However, the team would end up making more than 40 advancements to the controller--including the addition of rumbling triggers. Throughout the course of the Xbox One controller's design period, more than 1,000 pairs of hands tested the controller, Ledbetter said.
“We crafted every last detail," he said.
Finally, Ledbetter shared an email he sent to his staff on November 22, 2013, the day the Xbox One went on sale worldwide. He doesn't hold back addressing his feelings for the new device and what it means for the future of Xbox.
“One thing is for certain. Meaningful, breakthrough products aren’t easy to create – otherwise everyone would do it. With Xbox One we have created an amazing product that truly is a next generation product for Xbox customers. It’s one of those products that don’t happen very often, and it is a moment in our careers that we will all carry with us for years to come.”
The Xbox One sold more than 3 million units in 2013, leading Microsoft to call the release the "the most epic launch for Xbox by all measures."