The XBox One Was Accidentally Delivered To Someone’s House In 2013

xbox oneIn March of 2013 a 25-year-old man named Jia Li ordered a laptop from Microsoft’s online store…and the store goofed up. One week later, he got a large package in the mail that didn’t contain a laptop. Instead it contained an XBox One….eight months before the console’s unveiling, and two months before the XBox One would be even mentioned publicly. You might be wondering, “How do mistakes like that happen, and why do they never happen to me?”

What happened was the result of a new strategy Microsoft was employing, where they tried hiding the prototypes for their next machine in the last place they figured anyone would look. You know that one strip where Calvin’s mother is searching all over the house so she can give him a bath, and Calvin is hiding in the bathtub thinking “she’ll never look here”? Same thought pattern. Instead of storing the prototypes under heavy lock and key, where every spy would look, Microsoft instead hid them in a nondescript warehouse with minimal security, inside an unlabeled crate.

What the company didn’t think about was that the place would also be full of clueless underpaid employees who had no idea what the machines were. Because of this, one of them got out and was shipped to Mr. Li’s house by accident. So what did he do?

He contacted the tech website Engadget and Emailed them pictures. I’m sure Engadget turned over the possibility of blabbing, but other sites have been blacklisted for such things, so they decided to tell Microsoft. A representative showed up at Li’s door a few days later, Li handed over the prototype, and as a reward for being such a good boy, he was given a free XBox 360 in addition to his laptop.

This news took three years to get out because Engadget reached a deal with Microsoft: for their silence, they would get an exclusive on the XBox One reveal ahead of anyone else. Nobody who wrote for the site in 2013 works there anymore, so former staff writer Ben Gilbert decided it was time to tell the tale.

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