Xbox One console had over 75 initial designs, 200 controller concepts: designer recalls process

By Dave Cook, Monday, 20 January 2014 16:15 GMT

Xbox One designer Carl Ledbetter came up with over 75 designs for Microsoft’s next-gen console, over 200 controller concepts and 100 initial visions of the new Kinect sensor.

In a Microsoft-penned article, Ledbetter’s two-year design process has been outlined. The then-senior industrial design manager was tasked with designing the next iteration of Kinect and Xbox in 2010. It was a daunting task, he recalled, “There was this conundrum in that we had to meet and satisfy desires of core gamers and Xbox fans, and at same time we wanted Xbox to reach out and mean something to new people. From a design perspective, how do we make that happen? That was a big challenge.”

Across the next two years Ledbetter and his team sketched and 3D-printed concept after concept. He added, “We were extremely thorough. 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.”

“We wanted to take every component of what people love about Xbox and amplify it,” he added, “but also make it disappear into the living room – to stay in the background, robust and reliable.”

He explained that his team pained over every contour and edge, as well as the Xbox One start-up sound. The controller proved particularly tricky however, Ledbetter stated, “There was never a direct ask for us to make it better. People were a little apprehensive, like, ‘We have a great controller. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.’” Regardless, the new pad features over 40 improvements.

“We had more than 1,000 pairs of hands testing controllers throughout the course of design evaluations,” he recalled, “to make sure the triggers felt right, the overall form felt right and that people could use the new controller in a way that was as good as or better than the old. We crafted every last detail.”

Are you happy with the way Xbox One turned out? Hit up the interview linked above for more insight into how the final Xbox One design was chosen.

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