Jan.22, 2014

Microsoft's senior lead Industrial Designer for Xbox, Carl Ledbetter revealed that his team had to make 75 3D printed prototypes before Microsoft settled on the current console's design. In addition they also made 100 3D printed prototype for the Kinetics and more than 200 3D printed gamepads designs during development.

In a recently posted story on Microsoft's site, Ledbetter shows how much thoughts goes into the design of a console. "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."

The design process took two years and his team sketched and 3D-printed concept after concept. "We wanted to take every component of what people love about Xbox and amplify it," he added, "but also make it disappear into the living room – to stay in the background, robust and reliable."

Ledbetter says that the latest console was meant to meet and satisfy desires of core gamers and Xbox fans, and at same time to reach out and mean something to new people. He explained that the controller, in particular, was the most difficult one to make. The company spent $100 million creating the Xbox One's controller, said Microsoft's Zulfi Alam in August last year.

"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."

His favorite details? "It's the stuff that people may not easily notice," Ledbetter said.

The Xbox One sold more than 3 million units in 2013.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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