Before settling on the Xbox One design you see today, Microsoft prototyped a number of wild mock-ups, including models that has "futuristic spheres" and even designs with Sydney Opera House-style curves, according to a Kotaku report featuring comments from lead designer Microsoft designer Carl Ledbetter.
"We started off with the craziest ideas," Ledbetter said. "We had one that looked like an aircraft carrier. We even had a conceptual artist to come in and inspire us with mad shapes that almost looked like they were from the Marvel universe. What if we could express games and content in a completely different way? What could that be?"
Ledbetter said right across the street from Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington is a 3D model shop, which welcomed Microsoft designers as frequent customers during the Xbox One planning stages. "I think we built over 100 of these models, ranging from being machined out of foam to 3D printed prototypes. The model shop guys would have to find a way to make all these models overnight, they'd bring in piles of them every morning. We'd lay them all out, everyone would gather round and start evaluating them."
"There are the craziest shapes, but what we found is that when we started fitting in the realities of things like circuit boards and chips and fans and things like that, the more extraneous the shapes are, particularly rounded shapes, the more air we're packing in to fit in the components," Ledbetter said. "It's really an exercise in efficiency… how could we create the most efficient console that still had shape and form?"
Following fan feedback, Microsoft announced a $399 Xbox One model last week that does not include Kinect. You'll be able to buy the camera separately later this year, and the current $499 model with Kinect will remain on sale. Microsoft sold 3 million Xbox Ones by the end of 2013, though the company has not announced a new worldwide sales figure so far in 2014.