Scoop! The early, pre-production-meetings for the X-BOKS ...

MARCH 19, 2000

Silicon Valley - Bussiness Meeting Room - 12am

Sony have released their newest baby, the Playstation2 (PS2), earlier that day. A worried Bill Portals calls his best staffworkers together for a internal conference.

B. Portals : "Guys, we have to face the current consolesituation. The PS2 has been launched today and Nintendo is planning to unveil "Project Dolphin" in August. We have to do something/act quickly! Does anybody have any suggestions?"

Marketingdick I : "A console is made up around three simple yet effective innerbuildings : it has to be fun, refreshing and stylish. You know, a lot of attention is lavished on the design"

B. Portals : "Hmm, I don't think that last one is very important. So, correct me if I'm wrong, we'll have to present the best hardware and most innovative games when we want to outsmart Sony and/or Nintendo. We have a strong backcatalog of pc-games, so no drought of software, eh?"

Marketingdick II : "Indeed, succes largely depends on software. This is a strategy Nintendo uses since its early steps. Quality above quantity, you know..."

B. Portals : "Hmm ... I disagree. If we want to topple the "giants", we'll have to produce the hottest and most titles. A healthy portion of sex, drugs and violence does the trick!"

Marketingdick I : "(silence)"

Marketingdick II : "How about a child-friendly-focus? They remain the biggest factor in the quest for success..."

B. Portals : "No, this console is aimed at the young, rich, 20-something go-getters. I want to keep the retailprice above $500. How could we otherwise regain the marketinginvestiments?"

PR-manager : "Yes, because I already found out we won't make any profit the first two years if you keep spending money the way we are"

B. Portals : "I do have a great idea, héhé. I know how to get very cheap parts for the consoles. We'll discuss this later. I need a name first."

Marketingass I : "I have an idea... what about 'Microsoft's Box of tricks' ?"

Marketingass II : "... or 'Dreamcast' ?"

B. Portals : "Doesn't Sega have the copyright on that name? I believe their last console..."

Marketingass II : "(interrupts) Yes, but I just arranged that Sega's sales will sink to staggering depths. They'll disappear not long afterwards (how wrong he was). And then, it's only a matter of buying the name. I don't think anyone will notice it, neither will Bilbo!"

B. Portals : "Shut up about my cat. I don't like this Dreamcast-idea. We need our own name... something provoking, unique, never-seen before, something like..."

PR-manager, Marketingass I & II : "Yes?"

B. Portals : "... X-BOKS!"

Marketingdude I : "Err?"

B. Portals : "It's brilliant, don't you see? We keep the 'Box of tricks'-part and the X-rated-theme ! The name is shorter than Playstation2 or Project Dolphin. Easy and original, whadda'ya want more?"

Marketingdude II : "I'm off to Nintendo, I think"

B. Portals : "What? Anyway, start working on the logo. I've got $50 million to spend on that, should be enough. Now we need a catchy subtext. The first Playstation used 'Do not underestimate the power of PlayStation', the Nintendo64 had 'Feel everything'. The PlayStation2 will get 'The third place'... and we?"

Marketingass I : "Know your level"

B. Portals : "Is that the best you can do?"

Marketingnerd II : "Fun in spades"

B. Portals : "Looks like I have to think of something myself. I never run out of brilliant thoughts ... what do you think of 'Life's short, play more' ?"

Marketingnerd I & II : "Impressive ... (ahem)"

B. Portals : "This is a wrap, people. New meeting next week. Same time, same place"

MARCH 27, 2000

B. Portals : "Welcome! The second meeting for our top-secret, ambitious project : the XBOKS"

Marketingnerd I : "And have we got good news. Our developmentteam can already start designing and building the console next week. A list of the specifications is therefore absolutely essential and should be made today.

B. Portals : "Anything else?"

Marketingnerd I : "Yes. We just bought Bungie, a small software-company who'll be making games exclusive to XBOX. Their first game, "Hallo", should be up and running at launch."

B. Portals : "Scratch that last "l". Ok, take a piece of paper and I'll write down what our console needs to "improve" on the others."

Member of development-team : "At the core of every console is its beating heart : the processor. The first Playstation had a 66Mhz-processor, the Nintendo64 a mere 100Mhz, the PS2 has 300Mhz and Project Dolphin will have a 486Mhz-processor..."

B. Portals : "(interrupts) ... ah, now you're talking. Processors... like the ones inside our personal computers, eh? We can do much better! I thought about this one, as I already said. I happen to have a pile of unused pc-processors, that caused a meltdown inside the test-computers. We'll stuff 'em inside our XBOKS, nobody will complain when the console overheats from time to time."

Member of development-team : "I thought we we're offering the best quality possible? I mean, with..."

B. Portals : "Silence ! I will not tolerate (etc) ... we'll use those processors! They have 733Mhz clock-frequency, much more than the likes of PS2"

Member of development-team : "(quiet) Luckily, I don't have to play this travesty (louder) A second important key-item is RAM-memory. Common pc's nowadays have 128...""

B. Portals : "I have an illegal batch 64RAM-parts. They'll do the job !"

Member of development-team : "Yes, but they're two years old. It's possible to produce them three times smaller and with an increased efficiency"

B. Portals : "(ignoring) More important stuff I should know? Or can you start building the thing?"

Member of development-team : "Yes, other inner-components are the same with the other consoles"

B. Portals : "Fiddle with their maximum performances and it'll seem fantastic through the eyes of the thrusting buyer"

Member of development-team : "Just one more thing ... you need a memorycard to save games. Shall we produce a 16MB-card?"

B. Portals : "No, I have a better idea. I've got three storagecontainers, stacked with 8GB-harddisks. I once stole them from Steve Jobs, during a bussinesslunch. They're rusty and old-fashioned, but they will be a huge sellingpoint. People will love the idea of having a harddisk to save their games on!"

Member of development-team : "Hmm, ok ... we'll start right away"

B. Portals : "Throw in some trashy motherboards too. Swipe it from the Commodore64... still good"

Marketingnerd I : "What a progress. We'll see the first results next week. I'm curious."

B. Portals : "Same time, same place"

APRIL 3, 2000

Member of development-team : "Mister Portals, we encountered a huge problem during production. With all these older moieties, The XBOKS will be bigger than PS2 or Project Dolphin."

B. Portals : "To quote Yoda : 'Size matters not'. Do you really think design is important? Are our PC's stylish? If it's beautiful hardware you want, I suggest you go work for Apple!"

Marketingnerd I : "Can we see the first results?"

Member of development-team : "We can't get the console through the door..."

Marketingnerd II : "Second problem : we haven't thought about the controller"

B. Portals : "No need to worry. We "borrow" (read : "steal") 6 coloured buttons from the SuperNintendo-controller, paste two analoge joysticks and add two shoulder-buttons!"

Member of development-team : "The joysticks chirp and squeak!"

B. Portals : "So ? We want to produce and make money, not innovate!"

Marketingnerd I : "Two weeks ago, you said... ah, nevermind"

Member of development-team : "Two big coolingunits are needed for the processor. It'll make an awful lot of noise!"

B. Portals : "I'm happy as long as the games work. I also came up with a first commercial. 'Life's short', eh? We'll show a man's lifecourse. He gets born and shoots right out of the hospital, into his fresly dug grave. Shocking and rude, I like it!"

Marketingnerd II : "Won't the BBFC complain?"

B. Portals : "No, they've got better things to do, haven't they?"

Marketingnerd I : "Releasedate?"

B. Portals : "We'll drop it in the shops as soon as the first games are done and dusted!"

Marketingnerd II : "Halo is in full development ... Project Gotham Racing, Oddworld, Fusion Frenzy are confirmed and our own team is coding Amped, a bad snowboardsimulation. You can create your own soundtrack, when you save a compact disc on your, err, harddisk!"

B. Portals : "Including my daughter's pianolessons?"

Marketingdude II : "If they are available on cd, yes."

B. Portals : "And when is Halo finished?"

Marketingdude I : "13 november next year, according to recent releaseschedules."

B. Portals : "November is US-launch time, then! So much for now, I'll keep you updated"