Microsoft spotlights Xbox One's designer (he also created the IntelliMouse)

The Xbox One sold more units than any other home console in the U.S. in December, and that must have been a great source of relief to the team members at Microsoft who worked on creating their next generation gaming machine. Today, Microsoft put the spotlight on three members of that team, including the designer of the Xbox One console, Carl Ledbetter.

The profile, which is part of the company's ongoing efforts to promote themselves with more detailed feature stories, reveals that Ledbetter joined Microsoft in 1995. Since then he has worked on a number of projects and holds nearly 200 patents. One of them is for the rubber scroll wheel that was put into the first Microsoft IntelliMouse.

Ledbetter helped to design a number of Microsoft PC hardware accessories, along with the Xbox 360. He also was on the team that created the Zune. While some may call the media player a failure, Ledbetter thinks it was an important milestone in that it was a first party hardware product from Microsoft that debuted the company's flat UI, along with a PC client and a marketplace to purchase music and movies. He states:

At the time, the only other fully integrated product we had like that in the company was Xbox ... Working on Zune was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I learned a lot and it was a delight to work with such a passionate team.

He then moved to the Xbox team again, as he helped to design the Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 and then the Xbox One itself. The team created over 75 Xbox One prototypes, along with over 100 Kinect sensor models and over 200 controller designs. Ledbetter believes Microsoft will continue to get better at making hardware, stating, "When you look at what we’re doing in devices, and how we reorganized the company, and acquired Nokia, we’re really going deep to design best-in-class products. We’re starting to get there in a very serious and competitive way."

Microsoft also posted up a new profile of Boyd Multerer, the director of development for Xbox who started working at the company part-time in 1994 and full time in 1997. He was the first person to officially sign into the original Xbox's version of Xbox Live and later helped to create the now retired XNA game development toolset. The profile reveals that Multerer is now on a brief sabbatical from Microsoft but hints of his return to the company. He states, "I can't really talk about it, but I'll be working on exciting things."

The final new profile looks into the life of Alex Hebert, who started out simply as a video game player and fan. She turned that into a professional gamer career before moving into development. She joined Microsoft in 2011 and is working on building an online community for the Xbox One via chatting with gamers on forums, hosting live gameplay sessions on Twitch.tv and more. Hebert hints that Microsoft might get more involved in the growing eSports industry, saying, "Major league gaming has only been around for 10 or 12 years, and this is a really new thing for Microsoft ... I’m excited to help create a road map of where this goes."

Images via Microsoft

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Fritzly said,
The Zune itself was not a failure, whoever was in charge and failed to make it available Worldwide.

It was a commercial failure. Did okay critically, IIRC, at least after the 2.0 software debuted. The second Gen hardware was quite nice.

I keep wondering how much of MS's international issues are due to licensing, legal, etc., versus "wtf are you thinking?" Its undoubtedly both, but the ratio interests me.

I always wondered about as well but no matter what if a company, at the time, smaller and with much less resources like Apple was able to secure media licensing and rights internationally there is no doubt that inept management was a decisive factor.

Those early IntelliMice were solid and comfortable devices, I used one for years. Nowadays mice seem to much more fragile. Also it's unbelievable how much of an innovation the scroll wheel was. I was once forced to use an old-style 2-button non-wheel mouse in someone's house and found it so painful to remember how things used to be back in the day.

http://i.imgur.com/hqwv8Yy.jpg

Edited by Romero, Jan 20 2014, 4:25pm :

the better twin said,
"The team created over 75 Xbox One prototypes"
And then went with the most generic box imaginable.

I think the technolgy choices and time scale left the designers nowhere to go.

A get it out the door asap design that doesn't melt.

The slim variant will hopeful show better design and collaboration from all teams. Other Microsoft hardware shows they are extremly talented.

Sony design was amazing, even down to a smartly designed built in power supply.

Xbox doesn't even have a user friendly removable hard drive this time. It's just a collection of off the shelf parts with little design philosophy. Looking forward to the slim.

This is what makes me laugh. The design of the Xbox One is something anybody who has built a PC could have designed. The motherboard is a mess and they stuck the biggest fan and heat sink they could fit into the box on it to stop it from over heating. Yet the PS4 has pretty much the same specs and has a built in PSU and is a little bit smaller than the Xbox One. What the hell were these designers doing?

I also don't get this whole running out of time thing I keep reading either. They have had years to work on this and the best they could come up with was that 1980s top-loading VCR lookalike?!

It doesn't look that bad. Let's just see how the PS4 and XB1 hold up over the next few years. Hopefully both are reliable and don't start suffering from heat issues down the road. Keep in mind how dirty some people keep their living space, dust clogging vents, etc.

Enron said,
It doesn't look that bad. Let's just see how the PS4 and XB1 hold up over the next few years. Hopefully both are reliable and don't start suffering from heat issues down the road. Keep in mind how dirty some people keep their living space, dust clogging vents, etc.

It doesn't look that bad but it doesn't look that good either. Considering the size of the heatsink and fan I would hope the One never has any overheating issues. So far both consoles seem to be doing fine failure wise. I have heard a few stories about problems with both but it isn't really possible to tell in the first month like you said a lot of people will stick the console on the carpet and let it suck in as much dust as possible

InTheSwiss said,
This is what makes me laugh. The design of the Xbox One is something anybody who has built a PC could have designed. The motherboard is a mess and they stuck the biggest fan and heat sink they could fit into the box on it to stop it from over heating. Yet the PS4 has pretty much the same specs and has a built in PSU and is a little bit smaller than the Xbox One. What the hell were these designers doing?

I also don't get this whole running out of time thing I keep reading either. They have had years to work on this and the best they could come up with was that 1980s top-loading VCR lookalike?!


Why do people like you care about how the frigging motherboard looks? My Xbox One works fine, that's what matters.