Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

The Red Ring of Death threatened to destroy the Xbox 360 and the entire Xbox brand. Consoles were dying out en masse. Microsoft didn’t immediately know why, but it did know it was a big deal. A plan was devised to fix gamers’ hardware, but it wouldn’t come cheap: To give the unfortunate owners of expired hardware the best possible experience, units had to be shipped to Microsoft overnight and then, once fixed, back to the waiting gamers. The total cost was estimated at $1.15 billion, of which $240 million went to FedEx.

Peter Moore, now at EA but then head of Xbox, had to ask Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in 2007 for the money to save the console’s reputation. Ballmer agreed, the Xbox 360 was saved and it was a huge success.

The full story of the Red Ring of Death, and many others, can be heard in the latest edition of IGN’s Podcast Unlocked. The show features three different Xbox heads: Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, Xbox 360 era Peter Moore, and current Xbox head Phil Spencer.

You’ll hear a whole lot of Xbox history in the 90 minute interview, including how seriously Microsoft took feedback that the original “Duke” controller was hilariously oversized – the company put all developer complaints into an Excel spreadsheet, one step aside of the “nuclear option” of a PowerPoint presentation – why the almost mutagenic green is still associated with the platform, and how Weapons of war influenced the design of the Xbox 360.

The assembled Xbox team also talks about AMD’s response to the official announcement of the first Xbox. It was initially developed to use an AMD processor, but when Bill Gates had a phone call with Intel’s Andy Grove, and the AMD relationship disappeared.

It’s an entertaining listen and gives a lot of insight into the history and development of the Xbox.

By akfire1

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