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The original Xbox prototype was just a massive metal 'X' – but it worked

The Xbox One X may currently be the slickest and most powerful console on the market, but the Xbox line's beginnings were far more bombastic.

When the original Xbox console was first revealed back in the year 2000 at the Games Developers Conference, it was far removed from the powerful box it would become. Bill Gates, who'd recently stepped down as Microsoft CEO, and Xbox project lead Seamus Blackley took to the stage with literally a giant, aluminum X, which powered the demos that would go on to be the first wave of Xbox games.

Milled out of a solid block of aluminum, each unit cost $18,000, and was designed to give developers an idea of what the final, more powerful first Xbox would be capable of.

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System recovery

By the time the console hit shops it looked rather different of course, although it remained one of the biggest consoles of all time in terms of its dimensions.

So what happened to that prototype? For a long time it appeared to have disappeared off the face of the Earth, but it's now resurfaced, on display at the new Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond. Xbox social marketing manager Graeme Boyd grabbed a snap of it, proudly displayed in a glass case, showing the story of where it all began for the Xbox:

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The original Xbox is having a small resurgence of sorts, thanks to the current Xbox One generation. It's ridiculously chunky Duke controller is back on shelves and reworked for the latest console generation, while many Xbox games are now backwards-compatible with the newest machines.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves his gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Based out of TechRadar Towers, London, Gerald was previously Editor of Gizmodo UK. He dreams of the day when he can pop on a VR headset and meet Lawnmower Man-era Pierce Brosnan. Sadly, Pierce doesn't share the dream.