2001 Launch Team Xbox: How Many?

Discussion in 'Rare and Obscure Gaming' started by GoTeamScotch, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Ya - I am here now. Will do my best to reply and confirm any questions in the forum.
     
  2. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    I think I have a green Duke under my desk next to the employee launch edition I am currently using for a foot rest. :)
     
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  3. XboxSurgeon

    XboxSurgeon Site Supporter Since 2013

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    I am also looking for a "foot rest".
     
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  4. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Ok "Partner Editions"
    this whole thing is interesting, mostly because I just don't have a strong recollection of these - which there are good reasons why.
    Initially in seeing this (today, summer 2016) I really don't recall these consoles. But in seeing the photo and caption from Borman of the labels stacked up in mid process, I now recall some of this and absolutely also know that I took that photo, emailed Borman the photo and the caption that is being referenced. I am guessing that the reason why I didn't recall this, is mostly because that once we made the team launch units, I just made these in the same cookie cutter fashion, and had them shipped to the office or somewhere central for distribution. I don't think these were a big deal, and likely did not think very highly of these from an aesthetic stand point just because this partner jewel ( with the ugly side "crescent moons") were so ugly, I didn't want to look at them too much.
    - Ask me about the jewel in some other thread and I can spin you some yarn about how much pain, and annoy I went through on making that part look nice (not to mention to company that went out of business trying to produce it). -
    So, in short, how many were made? Not sure, not too many, Like I said earlier, maybe a pallet or 2 (<1000 or so), which were loosely given out to a variety of business parters at some point *AFTER* launch.
    the one thing that I do remember is that around the commercial launch of the 1st Xbox, a variety of teams were formed to go out into the field and support a number of midnight madness laugh events. I was on a team that went down to the bay area and attended the midnight madness event at the SF Embarcadero (at a EB Games store, or something like that). All in all it was a relatively sparsely attended event, and mostly uneventful as the initial market push and excitement around Xbox was not that strong for the average consumer. Regardless, during that trip, our team had made surprise drop in visits to EA, Nvidia, Intel, and Ubisoft, to give the team signed banners and other swag supporting the Xbox launch. I think we also gave them certificates for these consoles, which we may have sent once the post launch demand was alleviated.
     
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  5. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    This is way cool. I love seeing your (and other folks) passion for collecting these on display. I spent so much of my life making these back in the day. I wish I save more of my old units and swag from before when Borman contacted me.
    Don't hesitate to reach out. I am completely happy to help and support the OG Xbox collector communities.
     
  6. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Borman wasn't trying to deceive anyone here, but I wasn't the "head of manufacturing". I was just a Supply Chain Program Manager, who oversaw all of the manufacturing operations for the Xbox Console Plastics. The special editions and various color consoles all fell under my perview, so I directly oversaw and helped deliver all of the special consoles for all regions when we built them. I also worked with our Industrial Designer (also in some of the photos I provided) in evaluating some of the special colors which did and did not make it into the special editions... most notably ORANGE, which never became an official released Xbox, but which I had made a couple of for fun and are now notorious. Too bad I never kept a glow in the dark, or the color shifting units....
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
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  7. GoTeamScotch

    GoTeamScotch Spirited Member

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    Well... ya know, I could use a footrest or two. ;)

    Wow, all very interesting stories. It must have been a cool time to work there. Right at the beginning of the xbox which went on to be such an iconic household name. I've had an interest in xboxes for a while and attribute much of my tech savvy nature in part to figuring out how to tinker with them. So I guess in a way I have you in part to thank. :D

    I'm curious about the company that went out of business making jewels for MS?
     
  8. GoTeamScotch

    GoTeamScotch Spirited Member

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    If you had kept glow in the dark or color shifting those things would be worth ridiculous amounts now days. Did you hear that orange one went for $15k? It's going to be in a gaming museum from what MetalJesusRocks says.
     
  9. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    UGGGGGGGG. I could write volumes. I'll try to make this the short version....
    If you notice the cover of WIRED at some point around October 2001 (before Console Launch), Michael Marks, the CEO of Flextronics is on the covered of Wired, holding an Xbox. Its no secret that Flex made the Console for us. but around June when the photo was taken, the "jewel" (as what we called the logo) was not yet designed, and it was the last part of the console to be designed and tooled (way later than planned an anticipated). The version in the WIRED cover with Michael Marks, was a printed/metal stamped version that was purely the best available part envisioned at the time. Even up to that late we might have been trying to make a glowing/light up version which would have followed the original vision of Horace Luke (one of the original ID designers for the console who came up with the "green" color and "x" shape, purely based on the green florescence highlighter he had in his bag at the time). ...
    Anyway, we had to make something to put on the console so we decided on a molded part, which is like the regular green "XBOX" part you see on the normal consoles. We worked with a company, near Paducah Kentucky, which made nameplates for Cadillacs, and Corvettes (amongst other GM brand cars), to made the jewel. Unfortunately, they were used to making 10-30K parts per year for these types of parts....We were making 300K per week. Long story short, their processes and procedures were inadequate to produce the volume and quality we desired to represent the logo and nameplate position on theXbox. Their yields were low, and eventually they were burried in their yield loss and could not recover.
    There were a ton of lessons here...I am a huge fan of global and domestic manufacturing operations - and the is a completely different story for a different web site, but in this case the domestic supplier lost out for reasons completely within their control relating to the quality of the part. This was one of the parts that I spent an inordinate amount of time making sure the customer got a good looking part (probably at the detriment to our supplier - who was ultimately substandard to begin with). Ultimately we straightened this out, with one of the best domestic companies I had ever worked with.
     
  10. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Yes, I have kept up on that. $15K for orange is the value you guys put on that, which is fine with me if that represents your appreciation of the console. All I can do is tell you what I know about it.
    The glow in the dark and color shifting, just didn't look good, so as I know they would have been awesome for fans, I am happy the parts were destroyed never to be seen again, along with some of the other colors. I hesitate to mention that there were some fire engine red console covers also made, which we brought back to MS with us, but I am sure were destroyed on our side (and definitely never molded in all of the parts, or built up). Orange was made because we thought it might have been launched for Xbox Like (that brand being the orange color), so we made a full set of parts before scrapping for whatever reasons.
     
  11. XboxSurgeon

    XboxSurgeon Site Supporter Since 2013

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    It's not a museum. The previous owner sold it, got $9K upfront and opened his own gaming consignment shop. He is still waiting for the remainder of the cash. But the new owner is some girl who owns a competing gaming consignment shop. It's a museum of sorts, but not like you'd think. It's currently located in Renton WA. I've seen it in person and touched it.
     
  12. GoTeamScotch

    GoTeamScotch Spirited Member

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    Found it!
    [​IMG]
    It's interesting how this jewel design didn't make it long. It was on some of the first dev/debug kits and then later replaced by the simpler Xbox logo (below).
    [​IMG]
    This photo was taken by @Borman - just one of many rare items he's collected. That would have been really cool if the stock jewel glowed like you guys almost did, though I'm sure from a manufacturing standpoint that just adds unnecessary effort. As you probably know, doing clear jewel mods and adding lights to the center jewel is a very common mod for these. The design of the jewel and the case was just a stellar concept. The whole case is just so monolithic almost and futuristic at the same time.

    I had no idea about that little tidbit. I guess inspiration can strike anywhere! Who knows what the xbox would look like if he hadn't had that on him at the time.

    Right, there was orange controllers and memory cards made. Do you know why orange never made the cut? It actually looks really good.

    Where in Renton? I kind of want to drive up and see it before I move to Arizona in two weeks.
     
  13. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    would be interested in seeing it just for fun, just cuz I made it and it ended up being a big deal. What is the shop? I am still in the Seattle/Bellevue area, in the games HW industry.
     
  14. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Orange did look good. I don't remember exactly why we never made that into an official console....It was 1 of 2 reasons.... either the Orange was just too audacious, even though it was a brand color for Xbox Live, or at the time we built sample consoles, we were too close to the Xbox Live launch (November, 14 2002) to put together a marketing and production plan around the Orange special edition in the product life cycle. If I recall correctly, we didn't do many special editions for EU and NA until later in the product cycle, and the first year was focussed on launch then Live.
     
  15. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    Right,
    I think Borman has this one... Early Dev kits or Debug Kits had these metal stamped jewels. If I remember correctly, Robbie Bach liked this version (everyone else hated them..... ;-) )
     
  16. GoTeamScotch

    GoTeamScotch Spirited Member

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    Well that's a shame! It would have sold well I'm sure. So out of all of them which do you think is the best looking or the one you're most proud of?

    Have you heard of or been to the xbox gaming lounge by Northgate mall called Playlive?
     
  17. hrahn

    hrahn Robust Member

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    I still got an orange memory card from the xbox live kits they handed out here in Germany.
    Looks badass.
    Iirc the xboxes had some kind of softener in the black plastic that also gave them a greenish tint when viewed under certain lighting conditions. I clearly remember that when we were painting our boxes (like almost everyone in the modding scene did) we had to take special care to use lots of filler on them because otherwise some greenish tint would be visible, sometimes even as swirls, disturbing the paint. This was very visible when using silver automotive paint which was not water-based, but solvent-based. A whole set of cases that were supposed to be done for customers had to be scrapped by a local paint shop because of this.
    My own 2001 box made in Mexico is still going strong, now with a 220V power supply and upgraded thermal paste and bigger HDD and ofcourse chipped (it was so easy on the early models and a necessity for me to play PAL games having a US box over here ^^). The disc drive had to be replaced twice though, the original ones were crap.

    Still have a few Dukes around, best controller for racing games. And I say that even though I have kinda small hands.
    Sadly, the pressure sensitivity of the buttons was not communicated / used very much :(
     
  18. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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    For separate reasons:
    1)
    I firstly loved the Japan Smoke/Grey Skeleton launch edition. It was the first public special edition we did in large volume (50K), opposed to the clear and clear green units we either made for dev kits, debug kits, and employee special editions. It was hard work to set it up, the Japanese market is very discerning as consumers (rightfully), and we had to also do the special thing with the numbered BillG keychains.
    I went to Tokyo for the launch and we launched at 6 am in the morning because the city would not let the store do a midnight madness type launch. I think it was February (2/22)/2012), so it was a little cold at the time, especially at 5 am in the morning... So the folks supporting the launch handed out some last minute green gloves to help keep people's hands warm as they waited in line. I still have my gloves and use them from time to time to run with in the cold weather. Also of note (I have pictures of this, but haven't posted them), later in the day, after handing out the first Xbox in Japan, Bill Gates, went to a team celebration in the MSKK (Tokyo MS offices) for quick celebration and speech to thank the team in Japan. Odly - the Japanese team members all had these Bill Gates paper cut out face masks they were wearing which were very odd looking, especially when they wore them backwards (their face exposed forwards and a replica BllG face looking backwards). I think they also had T-shirts that said something funny as well but can't remember exactly.
    2)
    The Panzer Dragoon Orta Console. We needed to constantly make special editions for Japan to keep the market interested and spike the minuscule sales a few times a year. Making the White console wasn't an issue, but screen printing the black stripes, and specifically keeping them from smearing and spreading out was ridiculously hard. We had asked the factory in Guadalajara to set this up and they had brought in a kid from the streets with a hand squeegee screen printing set up. I had the head of HW product marketing from Japan with me, and he was a stickler for detail (even more so than the typical Japanese customer). We were trying to originally make ~3000 consoles for Japan, but could only make about 1300 that made the quality cut for applying the silk serene on the top of the white console by hand. We were up in the factory working from about 6pm until 3 am making, grading, and sorting console tops to make the delivery date. This console is pretty rare in the US, and I would guess pretty rare even in Japan. It was the hardest to make and the one I am the most proud of (I don't use this one as a foot rest). Interesting note... The white console is made from ABS (all of the solid color consoles, dark green/black, lime green, and white) are made from BASF GP-22 ABS. Controllers were made from PC/ABS, so..... over the course of time ABS yellows and fades differently (more so) than PC/ABS which is more color stable.

    Bill G handing out the first Xbox in Tokyo( 300 × 180 - news.bbc.co.uk )
     
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  19. mmm206

    mmm206 Active Member

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  20. hrahn

    hrahn Robust Member

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    I still smile at this, especially since everybody once said "you cannot be successful with a black console, look at Sega, always losing out to Nintendo and the brighter colored consoles". Yes, well, they went with white for the Dreamcast, Sony snatched black for the PS2 and we know how that ended.
    But now knowing this one can say: MS went the safe route and made their console green. Although nobody noticed ^^ (well, even we modding guys thought it was just an addition to the plastic, not the plastic itself, that was green-ish :D )

    Somehow I just love the old Xbox. Don't know why, but I had so many fun hours. Playing an imported Sega Racing only to realize that the 60hz version of the game was unbeatable on 50hz - enemies would drive slower and crash so you'd always be number one, but you drove slower yourself and couldn't beat any time challenge :D - stuff like this made it somehow even better ^^
    Never regretted importing it ahead of schedule and paying a premium. First and only console I bought as soon as it launched.
     

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