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A shipping mistake led to a man getting a Xbox One before it was officially revealed

Xbox One Console Logo
Xbox One Console Logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

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.

Xbox One prototype

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.

51 Comments
  • Should have ebayed it a couple of years later.
    But saying that he's still a laptop down.
  • Err no, he got his laptop - last paragraph.
  • No, if he did put it on eBay, he would have been a laptop down is what I think he meant.
  • Probably ;). Would have helped if we were telepathic thus wouldn't have to guess what the op meant :P.
  • I blame autocorrect for not reading my mind.
  • Haha, though, half the time, we'd probably get in trouble if auto correct could read our mind.
  • I'm sure he could have gotten more than enough money to buy another laptop
  • Ohhhh he got the almost dead at the time 360 instead though! So worth it.
  • 360 still isn't dead...
  • Yes! There is the possibility of MS shipping me that Surface Phone early instead of this BT mouse I ordered... Fingers crossed❗❗❗
  • LOL!!!!!!
  • lol
  • Good luck❗❗❗
  • They'd probably send you a display dummy device! ;)
  • Hey, but wouldn't that still be cool? I'd be famous for letting the world know that there is INDEED one coming. And, I would tell WC so damn hard I'd probably crack my screen typing the tip.
  • Carved initial hardware design in wood, may be...
  • Not saying the writer got it wrong; serious question here because I'm not sure: Should the title say "a Xbox" or "an Xbox"?
  • Well, the general rule is that "an" is used when the word after begins with a vowel. So, for example, "an American" instead of "a American".
    Going by this rule, "a Xbox" is correct.
    But it's more common to use "an Xbox" because it sounds better and rolls better off the tongue. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Gotcha, thanks. I wasn't sure if it would be written based off of how it looks or how it's pronounced.
  • That's no strictly true, using "an" before vowels not "a universal" guide to point out a example. It's all about sound. 'An' should be used for any word that sounds like it starts with a vowel. "an xbox" is an obvious example, "an hour" is another. So yes, you're right, the title is wrong :)
  • Correct
  • This is the right one. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I didn't claim it was a strict rule did I? Nope. I wrote general rule. General means broad. And the broad rule is that. Specially when applied to words you actually don't know how exactly they sound. You can't subject grammar to "depends on how it sounds". That's not how grammar works lol Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Seems like you are not familiar with English grammar but you are brave enough to discuss its rules. Anyway it's "an Xbox" because general rule is that you put "an" before vowels but phonological not orthographic. A university, an hour etc. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • This is more the rule... Don't go by what sounds better... That's what there are so many mistakes today... Sound or rolls off the tongue is subjective. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Thanks.
  • Actually it's to do with the vowel sound as well... because X sounds like "ex" it would be treated like a vowel i.e. "An xbox" is more correct. The one that pisses me off is when Americans (only) say "an herb"... Because they actually say "herb" like "erb" instead of correctly like "herbert". So it should always be "a herb". But it would be correct to say "an hour" or "an honest". 
  • Technically according to the English language it would prob be correct as is. I was taught in high school (last year) it's only "an" if it's a vowel. But one teacher also said if it sounds better with an then go with it anyway so I don't think it's wrong to put an there. Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • It would be "An Xbox" because the letter X is pronounced "EX". So you say, "an example", "an exception", "an x-ray", "an Xbox".
  • I call fake....
  • Fake here. I believe you called?
  • Lmao!!
  • Lmao, I'm going to use this on YouTube comments for now on. Thanks! Lmao Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • When he called support how many times was he told to unplug the device, wait ten seconds and plug the device back in to fix the problem?
  • They gave him a 360 and Kinect for being truthful and returning what they messed up on? Bwahahaha!! They couldn't even hook him up with the Xbox One. Crazy. Love Microsoft but that's very odd indeed.
  • well, he also wanted the laptop he paid for too... its not like he simply got a free xbox one. so, getting a free 360+kinect is a decent win considering if he didn't, he'd have no laptop (and how knows how expensive the laptop he ordered was). And for all we know, this transaction (sending it back and receiving laptop plus xbox360) all completed prior to the xbox one release. A couple hundred dollars worth of merchandise for simply returning a device for the correct order? Nothing wrong at all with that.
  • Give someone a box that isn't even out yet, or a box that is out for free? Yeah, Microsoft made him happy. Free stuff, where's the right to complain?
  • Give someone a box that isn't even out yet, or a box that is out for free? Yeah, Microsoft made him happy. Free stuff, where's the right to complain?
  • Give someone a box that isn't even out yet, or a box that is out for free? Yeah, Microsoft made him happy. Free stuff, where's the right to complain?
  • Lol, wait so they only gave him a xbox 360 and a kinect only? They would have gotten alot better PR if they went above and beyond that plus they would have earned alot of the priceless form of marketing - the word of mouth :). Goes to show marketing really isn't their strong point at all lol. Good on Li for not taking it apart and revealing everything lol.
  • A free 360 as it was the only console from MS at that time is great! He gets what he paid for and a free gaming system for his trouble. What more should he want?
  • Greedy?
    If that's how you see it fair enough. I saw it as an opportunity to win some mind share and to provide exceptional customer service as after all it was exceptional circumstances. Win-Win. They could have given him some office 365 to use with his new laptop, a year's sub of live etc. All within their remit. If it was me I would have invited to a vip treatment at e3 or something as he could have very well spoiled the big reveal if he wanted to.
  • I think we've learned by now. Microsoft is worse at marketing/PR than North Korea is. Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • And he waited 3 1/2 years to tell his story?
  • Probably had to sign a contract to not say anything.
  • Picture this happening with a surface phone that worked on Verizon next month bahahaha...
  • I wouldn't mind ordering a Lumia and getting a Surface Phone instead.
  • Kinda what I was saying just above you... Got down voted lmao.. No sense of humor anymore
  • Damn, He could have gotten so much more for the box.
  • But at least he was honest. Honesty is what matters more. A good name and character.
  • If it starts with a vowel, you use "an". If the first letter is pronounced as a vowel, you use "an", as in /Ex/ Box. In the same vein, if the first letter is pronounced as a consonant even though the spelling starts with a vowel, you use "a" instead of "an", as in "a University". A /Yu/niversity.