Microsoft’s released a short video about its new Xbox. In it, the console’s design team speak about the creation process, detailing the little things that nobody will really notice at first, as well as challenges they faced.
At launch, when the wraps were taken off the machine, I thought it looked awesome. A clean design with straight lines and no superfluous just-because-we-can curves. Curves are so… 2005, don’t ya think? Well, yes, because that’s when the 360 hit the market. It also left in its wake the hideous (even in its time) original Xbox, a mammoth piece of hardware that had a huge X as part of its external structure. Very 90s. Very radical, dude.
Thankfully Microsoft has grown up, design wise. The video shows how the designers say they wanted something that complemented the on-screen visuals. The One uses a more refined version of the current Xbox 360 dashboard, with some Windows 8 flair. The 2D tiles on a dark background will look great on a big TV in a modern lounge. They’re also where your attention is likely to be focussed. Nobody’s sitting there going “oh man look at that sweet Xbox One, with its two-tone finish!”. But, with said Xbox having similar visual design themes helps a lot. It’s almost as if somebody looked at what Apple does right.
Another good thing is the decision to go all black. In the video the designers explain that it’s called liquid black, the darkest shade of the colour you can possibly get in an injection mould process. The two-tone finish is stylish, too, and the chrome-embossed Xbox nameplate seems to float on the surface of the machine. Black’s also a slimming colour, and the One looks like it may be a hefty old so-and-so. The older crowd have said that it looks almost like a VCR. The younger crowd was left asking what a VCR is. And both groups seem to have forgotten: Microsoft’s vision for the One is that it’ll be the ultimate set-top box, and that’s really what the VCR used to be.