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Xbox One's 'holistic' design philosophy explained by its creators

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The Xbox One was designed from a "holistic perspective," created to be both aesthetically pleasing and a visual representation of a unified living room entertainment experience, according to a post on Xbox Wire.

Both the Xbox One's hardware and software were developed together using a "unified design language" shared by other Microsoft products, including the Surface and Windows 8. The language draws from the 16:9 width-to-height ratio of most widescreen HDTVs.

"We wanted to think from a holistic perspective," said Xbox One creative director of design Ramiro Torres. "When designing anything on Xbox, you have to consider everything from the way the hardware and user interface looks, to the way the box and branding is expressed. Everything has a role in the way you experience a brand."

Microsoft's decision to make the console liquid black, "the blackest black creatable," was because the darker color allows more vibrant content to take the visual foreground. The console itself, as well as the Kinect and controller, "melt into the background" compared to the controller's bright buttons and the content users watch.

The Xbox One design and engineering teams also worked in tandem during the console's creation, which allowed Microsoft to make and test prototypes more rapidly and made the development process move more efficiently.

"We're like a race car pit crew," said Microsoft designer Carl Ledbetter. "Everyone has their own very important job, but we're all working right next each other as a team to win the race.

"Many people may not notice some of the small design touches," he added. "But we take pride in our craftsmanship in making sure everything is perfect. We want to create something that is exciting and will please our customers, both old and new. Nailing every last detail is critical."