The four generations of Xbox hardware, as of 2020. The original Xbox is in the back left. (GeekWire Photo/Thomas Wilde)
Ed Fries, one of the original team members at Microsoft that co-created the Xbox, shared a bevy of behind-the-scenes stories from his time at the tech giant as part of a celebration of the Xbox project’s 20th anniversary.
Fries spoke at the WN Conference in Seattle last week as part of a discussion hosted by Venturebeat’s Dean Takahashi, author of the 2002 behind-the-scenes book Opening the Xbox. In an hour-long conversation with Takahashi, Fries talked about the Xbox console, its development, his personal history with it, and his current business, a venture capital fund that specifically invests in up-and-coming game developers.
Fries came up through Microsoft in the ’80s, after the video game crash of 1983 forced him, as he put it onstage, to “get a real job” instead of pursuing game design. He worked his way up at Microsoft as a young programmer, working on Excel and Word before taking over Microsoft’s then-nascent games division in 1995, a move that multiple Microsoft vice presidents told him was “career suicide.”
Ed Fries. (GeekWire File Photo / Nat Levy)
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