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Xbox Creator Nearly Lost His Job For Comparing Gaming To Masturbation

Xbox Creator Nearly Lost His Job For Comparing Gaming To Masturbation

The creator, Seamus Blackley, made the comparison a few weeks before the original console launched, and executives weren't happy.

So, that’s a headline, huh? I’m sure we can all agree that gaming can be compared to many, many things, although I’m not sure masturbation would be the first thing that comes to mind for most. Sorry, I’ll see myself out. 

Anyway, in a series of incredible Twitter interactions, a glimpse into what was seemingly almost Xbox’s original marketing strategy has been revealed. It all began with one user sharing a reported quote from a Bloomberg journalist, Dina Bass, which said: “Gaming is like masturbation. Everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it.”

While you're here, be sure to check out this video of this TikToker making an incredible carbon fiber Xbox controller.

Adding some desperately required context to the situation, Bass replied, explaining she was quoting Xbox creator Seamus Blackley, who’d apparently said that, for some reason, in the autumn of 2001, a few weeks before the original Xbox launched. “The point I was trying to make is that gaming is now mainstream where it as a bit more hidden back then,” she added.

Adding to the chaos, Blackley himself joined in, saying: “This quote nearly got me fired from Microsoft.” In the thread, he went on to explain that the quote had reached the ears of “some conservative spouses of executives”, and to put it mildly, they weren’t happy. 

As reported by GameSpot, this isn’t actually the first time that these two have made reference to this particular incident. In 2019, Blackley made a post thanking fans of the original Xbox for all their support, to which Bass replied: “What about those of us who got to interview you as you expounded on your theory of how gaming is like masturbation? (Which my editor would NOT let me put in a story no matter how I tried).” 

“You know, I got in a LOT OF TROUBLE for saying that,” said Blackley. “It was [a]n argument for multiplayer gaining online, which Xbox was a pioneer in. Steve Ballmer and @BillGates were VERY upset at me about those comments. Thanks for bringing it up.”

Clearly, avoiding using that quote in the original Xbox advertisements didn’t do the console any harm, although it makes you wonder how things would have gone if they had used it. The gaming community is full of wankers, after all - those executives could have been missing a trick. 

Featured Image Credit: Xbox Game Studios, Microsoft

Topics: Xbox, Microsoft