Astro Studios on designing the Xbox 360
Gamasutra has an interview up with design heavies Astro Studios in regards to their hand in helping design the Xbox 360. Looking at the past incarnations of the 360 I'd say the one Microsoft ended up going with is the best one. Mostly because of it's lack of butt-ugliness. Some of the interview goodness,
Gamasutra: How were you asked to work on 360 - did you pitch, or were you asked?
Lovelady: We were asked. There were 6 or 7 other design firms, and Microsoft had received concepts from all of them. While going through a huge internal editing process, Microsoft liked a few things, but the designs weren't connecting to the whole experience design. So they invited us in to pitch ourselves, and they chose us to take over and start over from scratch. All of the work that had been done was set aside. The Japanese firm that we worked with was one of the firms that Microsoft was working with in the beginning - Microsoft liked their ideas, but didn't think it was totally resonating, so they had another pass at it as well. Then from that point, there was a lot of cross-talk with Japan.