Skip to main content

Microsoft considered giving the original Xbox away for free

Talking to GamesIndustry, Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley revealed:

In the early days of Xbox, especially before we had figured out how to get greenlit for the project as a pure game console, everybody and their brother who saw the new project starting tried to come in and say it should be free, say it should be forced to run Windows after some period of time.

Oddworld Inhabitants' Lorne Lanning also shared details on how Microsoft approached his studio to lure his title Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee away from the PlayStation 2 to the Xbox, with the hardware vendor highlighting the console as primarily targeted towards casual gaming:

At the time, Xbox thought that the core market was going to be casual. They were going to be the casual gamers' machine. Now, that's why they approached us because they said 'we think you've got something that competes in that Mario space and we think Mario's the thing to kill ... We see that space. We want that audience. We love Oddworld so why don't you get on this bandwagon? And we might give the box away.'So now you're like, 'look, if you're going to give the box away, you're going to win. If you're going to win, we want to be on board'.

Blackley stated that several ideas, including one to acquire Nintendo, were tossed around during the initial days of the console. As it turns out, Microsoft did not give the original Xbox away for free, with the console retailing for $299 in 2001.

Source: GamesIndustry

46 Comments
  • What day is it today?...
  • It's Nibbler's birthday.
  • Now i understand
  • Every morning after drugs I'm saying the same thing.
  • Oh, I thought this was serious at first, lol. I'd be all for them buying Nintendo though. Get Zelda on my Xbox.
  • And ruin it? Like they messed up Rare?
  • All they would have to do if they bought them is allow Nintendo to keep making their games, except on Xbox. Cause Nintendo is ruining themselves with their crappy hardware that no one wants.
  • As a former Nintendo diehard lasting through the GameCube I would love to see them go third party like Sega did back in the day. Either that or put out a serious console that isn't gimmicky garbage. There are a lot of people that have abandoned Nintendo that would love to see their games (Mario, Metroid, Zelda, mario cart, super smash bros, mario party, etc etc etc) come out on other gaming systems. Eventually Nintendo will realize that and hopefully capitalize on it...
  • Yes, if Nintendo released their games on other consoles they'd make a ton of money. Parent (who don't want to buy a second console) would buy the Mario and Zelda games for their kids.  
  • When in India?
  • +1020
  • It's not "when" it's "wen".. Come on..
  • April fools?
  • Nothing April-foolish about this, it's the past news. Aside from that it would be quite lame
  • It was April fools somewhere in the world yesterday. Maybe the surface 3 I'd an April fools joke??
  • If it was someone else's April fools joke WC wouldnt post it and either way, it still wouldnt make sense as a joke since it currently has no relevance.
    -------------
    On that note, Microsoft did consider buying Nintendo back in the day, which didnt happen but they ended up buying 'Rare' from Nintendo, with hopes of producing triple A titles. With Nintendo still strong and PlayStation being the must-have console, MS was a newcomer with Xbox; they werent being taken seriously so it's no surprise that they considered giving the Xbox for free, in order to disrupt the market and be able to compete.
  • I trust nobody today!
  • Trust nobody always.
  • This
  • Windows 10 TP for Phones will be released soon TM.
  • X-Files is still relevant today...."Trust No One"
  • Seems faster
  • What a beautiful green box
  • I considered giving my $p#rm away for free ?
  • consider to put a 3-month-free Xbox live gold card to it
  • I did but I kept going down for days at a time.
  • Its like Oprah is giving away, "Lies" today...
  • And now they couldn't even give it away! Ohhhh!!!
    Lol jk, I love my Xbox.
  • 299$ but 479€ in Germany. That was insane for that console made of cheap pc components
  • I've got one of the original Xbox consoles!
  • I got two and they both run Linux
  • Don't believe anything today
  • Today is going to suck with all these fake articles...
  • Indeed, I thought that WindowsCentral will not go so down, but I mistake
  • Um.... this is from an actual interview that happened yesterday lol
  • TL;DR... Can someone briefly explain what it is about and why it's funny?
  • "Can someone briefly explain what it is about" This is an article reporting on an interview.   "why it's funny" is it suppose to be?
  • Well some of the comments were hinting that it was an April fools joke. I didn't think it was funny so I just thought I must have misunderstood the article.
  • Nothing is ever free! Plus I think back in the day I remember there being an April Fools where MS were looking at buying Nintendo.
  • ahh, was looking at two of my original xbox's....modded and all and haven't been used in years :(
  • I have the slightly translucent halo edition. Beautiful machine from its time
  • I can never trust anything anywhere today.
  • The coolest console that I have till this day
  • The master piece
  • Xbox 360?
  • Pfft... The original xbox is far beyond extinction, if you find anything related for it like games accessories, etc. It probably like finding a needle in a haystack.