Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears

Illustration for article titled Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears
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Seamus Blackley, one of the key people involved in the creation of the original Xbox, has shared some concept images for Microsoft’s debut control pad, which date all the way back in November 1999 (the Xbox wouldn’t launch until 2001).

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Obviously the final design looked remarkably different; the “Duke” controller (below, left) was a massive, hulking thing, and its replacement, the S Pad (below, right), laid down the template that Microsoft’s controllers still follow to this day.

Images: Evan Amos
Images: Evan Amos
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These prototypes, though, were wild, a direct representation of how close Microsoft and Sega were at the time. Any one of them looks like an after-market Dreamcast controller, not something designed from the ground-up for a new company’s first console.

Blackley shared four images in all (via Gamasutra), each depicting the same VMU (Visual Memory Unit) design that the Dreamcast used (and which Microsoft kinda ended up borrowing with the Xbox controller’s memory card slot).

Illustration for article titled Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears
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Illustration for article titled Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears
Illustration for article titled Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears
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Illustration for article titled Original Xbox Controller Prototypes Look Like Dreamcast Tears

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

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DISCUSSION

mrjoeyyaya
mrjoeyyaya

You want to know why they look like dreamcast controllers? Because Microsoft and Peter Moore used SEGA as a stepping stone. Microsoft integrated Windows CE technology into Dreamcast, and Microsoft was supposed to develop a lot of stuff for the Dreamcast, such as WebTV and online services. Peter Moore was the president of Sega of America, and he was secretly in talks with Microsoft. The XBOX project has begun behind SEGA’s back and Peter Moore obviously knew about it and was waiting to make his move, jumping over to Microsoft. Well, that move came quickly after Isao Okawa passed away and Peter Moore assumed full control over SEGA. Peter Moore fired, literally everyone, working in SEGA’s hardware division, putting the nail in the coffin, and then made him jump to Microsoft as he planned. That is exactly why XBOX prototype controllers resemble dreamcast. The XBOX is literally SEGA’s grave stone.