Feast your eyes on these original Xbox controller designs from 1999

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While it’s been nearly 15 years since Microsoft entered the gaming console market with the original Xbox in 2001, it seems that the first installement in the Xbox series of consoles has yet to reveal all its secrets with us. Three years ago, original Xbox launch team member Seamus Blackley revealed how Microsoft settled for the name “Xbox” after considering “Direct Xbox”, “Midway” or even “Windows Entertainment Project.” Yesterday, Blackley revealed a couple more details about the original Xbox design process by sharing these designs of the original Xbox Controller on Twitter. You can have a closer look at them in the screenshots below:

The "X-Wing" and "Exterminator Xbox controller designs.
The “X-Wing” and “Exterminator Xbox controller designs.


The "Racer X" and "Bio" Xbox controller designs.
The “Racer X” and “Bio” Xbox controller designs.

When asked by someone on Twitter if Microsoft took inspiration from Sega’s sixth generation Dreamcast console which was first released in Japan in November 1998, Blackley answered that “these look as they do because at the time Dreamcast was king.” However, he added later that while it’s no secret that designers often take inspiration from competing hardware products, Microsoft didn’t go forward with these controller designs and that “Xbox was its own beast.”


Original Xbox
The original Xbox with its controller.

We’re really glad that Microsoft went on to invent its own design language for the original Xbox controller, and the company successfully iterated on this first design to deliver the more ergonomic Xbox 360 and Xbox One controllers in the following years. Back in 2013, we reported that Microsoft spent $100M in researching a new controller, only to end up with something quite similar to the Xbox 360’s controller. The Xbox One controller has since been redesigned with the addition of a headphone jack in June 2015, while the upcoming Xbox One S will bring in August a slight hardware revision with better grips and bluetooth support. Do you think the Xbox One controller has come a long way since the original Xbox controller from 2001? Let us know what do you think in the comments below.