Before Microsoft's next-gen consoles became the reasonably non-descript rectangles we know today, there were a bunch of different design concepts the company was floating to Xbox customers.
In a write-up from Medium, we can see what the Xbox Series X and S might have looked like had Microsoft chosen a different design. Below you'll see a number of different black boxes that Microsoft brought to the homes of Xbox fans to see which ones they liked.
Thanks to the trademark stovetop-like, we can see Microsoft had a few different ideas for the look of the Xbox Series S. In the prototype to the far left, the circle takes up most of the face of the console. In others, it more closely resembles the console releasing this November. Likewise, the prototype front and center looks a lot like the actual Xbox Series X. Curiously, just to its left is one that isn't at all dissimilar to the current-gen Xbox One X, just with the disc drive at the base of the console instead of at the top.
As senior design director Nicolas Denhez explained, Microsoft wanted to see how and where Xbox players would set up their consoles determined much of the next-gen consoles' designs. "When we visited gamer homes, device placement (whether it was displayed or hidden) and furniture orientation informed all of our design choices," Denhez said.
Of course, the size of the fans and the layout of the motherboard were also key in deciding the design of the next-gen Xboxes. But aesthetically, Microsoft wanted something that would blend in enough so as not to distract from the gameplay experience, but also look attractive enough on any number of surfaces - from a TV stand to a bookshelf - for so many years.
Now that one of Microsoft's next-gen consoles is in the hands of journalists, here's our Xbox Series X reaction round-up.