With E3 right around the corner I thought I’d share with you a bit of Xbox history. E3 is always a stressful time of year for those involved in the video game and entertainment industry. Countless months and in our case, years, of work and preparation for the biggest video game conference in the world.
E3 2001 was a particularly important year for Xbox as it was our first public demonstration and debut into the console video game industry. With a host of software, hardware, and managerial challenges we approached E3 2001 with a sort of “wing it and see” attitude.
Below is an excerpt from my upcoming new book Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate & Civic Renewal.
Chapter 2: In the Beginning
The E3 from Hell
“Rumors of these problems circulated through the game community, and that traumatic May 16th launch presentation at E3, confirmed we were in real trouble. Our approach to the show mirrored how our organization functioned. I arrived for rehearsals the day before the event only to discover that we were not even ready for a walk-through. Somehow, we were so preoccupied with other tasks leading up to the event that we forgot we actually had to produce a show. Rather than having one person clearly in charge, we had a very committed collection of production, events, and PR people working very hard to try to pull everything together. I should have put a stop to the insanity, but I dove right in and tried to help with the writing of the script, the selection of demos and presenters, and the overall messaging for the day. After many hours and at least two outlines of an ‘order of show,’ I went back to my hotel at 2 a.m. and began (again) to write my speech…
I remember standing at the podium at 8 a.m., ready to present Microsoft’s game-changing console to a room full of hung-over E3 attendees. When I hit the Xbox on/off button—nothing happened. Not a flicker, not a beep, not even a Microsoft blue screen. Just me and a silent, blank television.
The harsh reality was that our launch date was less than six months away, and I was not sure we were going to make it.”