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Opening the Xbox: Inside Microsoft's Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution Hardcover – April 23, 2002
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“I had not thought it possible to write an entire book on a single game console. Takahashi has done it and done it well. Opening the Xbox is constantly interesting and very personable. It’s also a book that should ruffle a few egos, including my own.”
—Steven L. Kent, author of The Ultimate History of Video Games
“Opening the Xbox provides fascinating insights about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering at Microsoft. Takahashi’s fly-on-the-wall style of writing is complemented by insightful analysis of the gaming industry and interesting vignettes about the personal lives of the Xbox creators. This book perfectly intertwines a compelling business story with human drama.”
—Geoff Keighley, editor in chief, GameSlice
“Dean Takahashi paves the way for serious journalistic coverage of an industry long dismissed by traditional media. Thoroughly researched, his book exposes the guts of the video game industry through the prism of Microsoft. Takahashi gives us an engrossing glimpse of an industry that’s at once juvenile and ruthlessly systematic in its manufacturing of digital fun.”
—Alex Pham, staff writer, [I]Los Angeles Times[I]
“Takahashi has meticulously researched this book. It’s required reading for anyone interested in the next-generation console race.”
—Tom Russo, director of program development, G4 Media
“Reads like The Soul of a New Machine for the new millennium. Dean provides insights into the people and the motivation behind Microsoft’s high-stakes bid to break into the home-entertainment market. And, he doesn’t miss a detail.”
—Dawn C. Chmielewski, staff writer, San Jose Mercury News
From the Inside Flap
Inside Microsoft's Plan to Unleash an Entertainment Revolution
The video game industry is expected to double in sales over the next five years. It has already eclipsed motion pictures to become one of the largest and fastest growing markets in history and a lamplight illuminating where the future of entertainment is headed. In an effort to grab a chunk of that market, Microsoftan absolute newcomer to the gaming industryhas put billions of dollars on the line in a gamble to build the fastest, most mature, most advanced video game console ever: the Xbox. Is this new Microsoft venture just another experiment that, like WebTV, was launched to much fanfare but will be quickly forgotten? Or will it become the next Windows, finding its way into the homes and lives of millions of people around the world?
In Opening the Xbox, award-winning journalist and gaming-industry expert Dean Takahashi guides you deep into the amazing story of this much-anticipated game console. Through exclusive interviews with top executives at Microsoft, exhaustive research, and a penetrating investigation, he unveils the tumultuous story behind the development of the project and how it could change the entertainment industry forever. Inside, you'll discover that what started as Project Midway, spearheaded by Jonathan "Seamus" Blackley and three of his renegade cohorts, turned into Xboxa multibillion-dollar enterprise that became Microsoft's largest internal startup ever and a personal pet project of Bill Gates. The colorful infighting, the cutthroat tactics used to lure partners, and the race to vanquish bitter rivals Sony and Nintendo are all laid bare in this unvarnished, high-tech drama. It's a story like no other, full of heroes and villains, plot twists and intrigueall before the backdrop of Microsoft's grand ambition to move from the office into the living room.
If you're like the millions of gamers, investors, and business spectators who anxiously anticipated the Xbox, then you don't want to miss the explosive, exclusive, behind-the-scenes story in Opening the Xbox.
"I had not thought it possible to write an entire book on a single game console. Takahashi has done it and done it well. Opening the Xbox is consistently interesting and very personable. It's also a book that should ruffle a few egos, including my own."
Steven L. Kent, author, The Ultimate History of Video Games
"Opening the Xbox provides fascinating insights about the behind-the-scenes maneuvering at Microsoft. Takahashi's fly-on-the-wall style of writing is complemented by insightful analysis of the gaming industry and interesting vignettes about the personal lives of the Xbox creators. This book perfectly intertwines a compelling business story with human drama."
Geoff Keighley, editor in chief, GameSlice
"Thoroughly researched, this book exposes the guts of the video game industry through the prism of Microsoft. Takahashi gives us an engrossing glimpse of an industry that's at once juvenile and ruthlessly systematic in its manufacturing of digital fun."
Alex Pham, staff writer, Los Angeles Times
"Takahashi has meticulously researched this book. It's required reading for anyone interested in the next-generation console race."
Tom Russo, director of program development, G4 Media
"Reads like The Soul of a New Machine for the new millennium. Dean provides insights into the people and the motivation behind Microsoft's high-stakes bid to break into the home-entertainment market. And, he doesn't miss a detail."
Dawn C. Chmielewski, staff writer, San Jose Mercury News
Top customer reviews
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I just got done reading "Opening The Xbox". I found it to be a very readable book, with a very comfortable writing style. The descriptions of the what the project team went through, however, seemed very reminiscent of many other professional projects I have been involved with in my career, and not necessarily unique to Microsoft or the tech. industry. What was enjoyable and enlightening, however, was the detail which Mr. Takahashi provided. Liberally spiced with information that was outside of the inner mechanics at Microsoft (like the challenges with Nvidia, Flextronics' manufacturing capacity, the marketing and sales performance of competing platforms, etc.), provided the perfect backdrop to the whole story.
In the end, I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read. It provides great insight into Microsoft's launch of the Xbox, and an interesting perspective on the video games industry as a whole. I also appreciated the "personal face" Mr. Takhashi gave the story by providing interesting tidbits of the personalities and their lives, throughout the story. That technique not only made it very readable, but it also helped me relate to the story in a much more fulfilling way.
Get out there and write more IN DEPTH books about video game history!!
this is the wave of the future, trust me....
5 stars... Absolutely BRILLIANT!
An interesting look at how projects evolve inside a company like Microsoft and how that evolution effects subsequent strategy. It makes an interesting point of comparison for similar projects in other companies.
A good look at how Microsoft is responding to the question of games and the gaming industry.
What the book is not:
Particularly well-written, at least in my opinion. The writing felt clunky, too much like an extended magazine article and not enough like a book.
Well documented. I expected more than interviews and anecdotal evidence.
It did not! It gave a boring historical time line of how the idea of the xbox started and nothing more. Alot of words about nothing of interest. No pictures or diagrams of the XBOX, in or out. It explained nothing at all about how it worked!
If you like history buy the book, but if you want information, look elsewhere.
Being an XBOX fan, this was just the book to read to help dispel some of the myths that were floating around when the XBOX was being developed. You also get a good idea of how the Microsoft corporation thinks and operates not just in the video game market, but throughout all of their business ventures. Interesting theories as to why Microsoft entered the console market in the first place are discussed (one theory is that the XBOX is Microsoft's act of "revenge" against Sony when it looked elsewhere for it's PS2 development systems!).
I highly recommend "Opening the XBOX" to anyone who enjoys video games in general or for someone who is looking for a book that's different than all the other business books currently in stores. Well worth the price and a very insightful look into the strategy and culture that is the Microsoft Corporation.