Carl Ledbetter, Microsoft’s lead Industrial Designer for the Xbox, revealed that his team made 75 3D printed prototypes of the Xbox before Microsoft chose the console’s current design. The team also made 100 3D printed prototypes for the Kinetics and over 200 3D printed gamepad designs.
In a story posted on Microsoft, Ledbetter talks about the in-depth design process. “We were extremely thorough,” Ledbetter said. “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.”
It took two years to complete the design process. Ledbetter and his team sketched and 3D printed numerous concepts. “We wanted to take every component of what people love about Xbox and amplify it,” Ledbetter said, “but also make it disappear into the living room – to stay in the background, robust and reliable.”
Ledbetter stated that the newest console was built to satisfy core gamers and Xbox fans as well as reaching out to new people. He stated that Xbox controller was the most difficult one to make. Microsoft spent $100 million to create it.
“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,” Ledbetter said.
“We had more than 1,000 pairs of hands testing controllers throughout the course of design evaluations 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,” Ledbetter said. “We crafted every last detail.”