[SIGCIS-Members] Bloomberg Xbox history oddly disses Microsoft staff as "historian-type" people

Hansen Hsu hansnhsu at gmail.com
Fri Jan 8 15:08:37 PST 2021

This is admittedly pretty odd.

But for those who might not be aware, before its acquisition by Microsoft, Bungie was actually a Macintosh game developer, which made games like Pathways Into Darkness and the Marathon series of FPS games for the Mac, as well as the RTS series Myth. Elements of Marathon would reappear in the Halo games: marines fighting against not one, but two separate alien threats; a sentient AI helping the protagonist along the way. Being a small Mac-first game developer, Bungie probably had a rebel attitude going into the acquisition that would necessarily be a difficult culture-fit for the corporate Microsoft.

> On Jan 7, 2021, at 9:36 PM, <thomas.haigh at gmail.com> <thomas.haigh at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello SIGCIS,
> Any of you not currently too busy obsessing over the unravelling of American democracy might hope to find solace in Bloomberg’s “oral history” composite story of the creation and launch of the original Xbox. It’s an interesting article on a topic I haven’t come across much previous writing about. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-01-06/xbox-the-oral-history-of-an-american-video-game-empire <https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-01-06/xbox-the-oral-history-of-an-american-video-game-empire>
> And yet… what should it contain but the following sentiment attributed to one of the Bungie guys whose Halo game became as the key Xbox title after the fledgling company was acquired by Microsoft:
> O’DONNELL In 2000, we all moved out here. We were in temporary quarters in Redmond, right next to the Expedia people. I can’t even begin to describe the difference in personality between someone who would be a crazy game programmer or artist from Bungie and the super, straight-laced, programming, historian-type, Expedia people. We built our own space, and we said, “We’re going to have electronic locks that only Bungie people can open.” We didn’t even let Ed have a key.
> That’s right. Twenty years ago, Microsoft was staffed largely by “programming, historian-type, Expedia people”. Undoubtedly the oddest phrase I’ve heard recently, despite tough competition from “a mob loyal to the President has occupied the Capitol building” on NPR yesterday.
> Best wishes,
> Tom
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