A man claims he bought a laptop from Microsoft's store site in March 2013, but instead he received a prototype for its Xbox One console, two months before it was officially announced.
The man, Jia Li from Miami, is now telling his tale to Business Insider. Apparently, the shipping mistake was caused in part by Microsoft's efforts to keep the existence of the Xbox One secret, even from most of its work force, until its May 2013 reveal:
So somebody had an idea: Hide these beta consoles in plain sight. In an attempt to throw off Microsoft's own employees, the beta versions of the Xbox One were stored in the open, in a less-than-secure part of a Microsoft shipping facility. And that's how one accidentally got shipped to Mr. Li in place of the laptop he'd ordered, which would've shipped from the same facility.
Maybe the wrong shipping label got put on a box with an Xbox One prototype in it. Maybe it was a computer error that switched his laptop order for an Xbox One prototype. Maybe something else entirely! Either way, off one went.
The prototype console that was shipped to Li did not come with its Kinect camera or a controller, so he couldn't actually play games with it, but he could hook it up to his TV. The zebra-like markings on the console is supposed to make photography of the device harder.
Li says that he contacted Microsoft about this shipping mistake, and the company got the prototype Xbox One console back. Li got the laptop he originally ordered from the Microsoft Store, and the company also gave him a new Xbox 360 and Kinect camera. As you might expect, Microsoft is not commenting on Li's story.