In case you haven’t seen it yet, Microsoft is shedding new light on the trials, tribulations, successes, failures, and story-so-far of the Xbox brand.
Power On: The Story of Xbox is a new six-part docuseries that goes behind-the-scenes with the movers and shakers behind the box, from the “scrappy beginnings” as Microsoft lovingly calls them, to now.
Probably the most major and eye-catching installment of the series is the penultimate episode – Chapter 5: The Red Ring of Death. In an age where pretty much any other company (especially in gaming) would rather go bankrupt than admit a true fault, Microsoft lays bare the entire story of those three accursed red lights, how they came to be, and how it came down to one fateful meeting with then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to decide if Xbox would live or die as a brand.
The full 45-ish minute chapter is below, and it’s well worth a watch.
Just looking at those lights gives me the creeps, and I can’t help but be overtaken by the aroma of fresh and warm bath towels.
In all seriousness, I don’t know a single major developer, publisher, studio, or tech company for that matter that would own a controversy of this magnitude (one that cost them an upwards of $1 billion if the documentary is to be believed). Nintendo won’t even acknowledge or utter the phrase “Joy Con drift”, but has a special warranty program out there for mysteriously malfunctioning Joy Con anyway. Don’t even get me started on Sony sweeping dumb moves under the rug and not acknowledging them.
In any case, even if you don’t watch the full series, this episode is a must-see. Especially if you owned an Xbox 360 and lived through this era.
All six chapters of Power On: The Story of Xbox are available on YouTube right now.