The original Xbox was a marvel in the world of gaming. It opened Microsoft up for becoming one of the three major players in the console gaming arena, but it may not have even gotten off the ground had Microsoft's creative architect Bill Gates and Microsoft's then-CEO Steve Ballmer originally had their way based on their initial reactions.
Gamespot picked up the news from a discussion that one of the original co-creators of the Xbox console, Ed Fries, had with IGN. Even though Fries is no longer with Microsoft, he's still talking about the glory days of the OG Xbox's nascence. The relevant parts about Bill Gates' initial reaction to the OG Xbox are quote below, where Fries explains that they wanted to launch the console without a Windows OS pre-installed and Gates did not react well to that at all, with Fries saying,
The issue was that Ballmer and Gates felt as if the only way a home console would work is if it came with Windows pre-installed. The idea was that it was going to be a two-pronged assault on the home entertainment sector, with the PC capturing home productivity and office management, and the Xbox capturing entertainment and edutainment. Both devices would run Windows and increase the marketshare of the OS for Microsoft.
However, Fries and company did not want to have Windows installed on the Xbox and that ended up flipping Gates and Ballmer out, because the whole point would have been to grow the Windows ecosystem.
So how did the OG Xbox come into being if it received such a negative reaction the first time around? Well, things took a completely different turn when Sony was brought up in the conversation. Fries explains...
And that's how the OG Xbox was given the green light.
Strange story, eh?
A lot of gamers love the original big black box because it birthed some great franchises that helped shape Microsoft as a legitimate competitor in the home console space, including Halo, Forza Motorsport, Fable, Crimson Skies, Blinx and Project Gotham Racing to name but a few. It helped pave the way for other franchises to come into being, including Gears of War, Kameo: Elements of Power and Viva Pinata.
Just think what sort of great games we would have missed out on had that one guy not brought up Sony during that meeting for making the Xbox console? The current landscape would have looked a heck of a lot different than it does today.