Man orders laptop in 2013, receives Xbox One 2 months before it was announced

Here's the crazy story of the time Microsoft accidentally sent a Miami man an Xbox One prototype.

GameSpot staff
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GameSpot staff
2 min read

Business Insider brings us a crazy story today about how Microsoft sent a random person an Xbox One prototype in March 2013, two months before the console was even announced.

25-year-old Jia Li, from Miami, ordered a new laptop from the Microsoft Store website. When the packaged showed up at his door, however, he noticed the box had security tape on it. "So I was wondering, 'What is that?' I opened it, and it's something I've never seen before," he said.

The public didn't know about the Xbox One until two months later, in May 2013, when Microsoft formally announced the console. The system that Li received had a zebra pattern on it, which is a common practice in the technology world to help make prototypes harder to photograph.


So how did Li end up with a system that hadn't even been announced? Business Insider's Ben Gilbert reports:

"In an attempt to throw off Microsoft's own employees, the beta versions of the Xbox One were stored in the open, in a less-than-secure part of a Microsoft shipping facility. And that's how one accidentally got shipped to Mr. Li in place of the laptop he'd ordered, which would've shipped from the same facility.

Maybe the wrong shipping label got put on a box with an Xbox One prototype in it. Maybe it was a computer error that switched his laptop order for an Xbox One prototype. Maybe something else entirely! Either way, off one went."

After receiving the package, Li opened the box and found the Xbox One console, as well as some paperwork and international plugs for the console. However, there was no controller or a Kinect camera. There were, however, power and TV plugs, so he switched on the console and saw a boot-up screen that showed the word "Kryptos." This was one of the console's code names, alongside Durango.

Li eventually got in contact with Microsoft, which sent a representative to his home to retrieve the console. He was given a new Xbox 360 and Kinect as compensation for his trouble. Li also received the laptop he initially ordered.

Microsoft declined to comment on this story when approached by Business Insider. Go to Business Insider to read the full story and see some pictures of the zebra-striped console and more.