If you’ve been an avid fan of Microsoft’s gaming platform, then you may have already known about the original design and form of the first Xbox console. The giant X-shaped prototype of the gaming machine was the one that was showcased at the Game Developers Conference in 2000 by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

It’s been 18 years since fans laid eyes on the prototype that did not make it to the official launch of the device in 2001. The last and only time it was seen in the previous years was back in November 2016, when Microsoft games marketing chief Aaron Greenberg tweeted a video of the device.

Interestingly, the unique Xbox prototype has now resurfaced. For some reason, people working at Microsoft decided to celebrate the unit by showcasing it at the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington. The unit is for display purposes only, so it is placed inside a glass case. Xbox social marketing manager Graeme Boyd was the one who confirmed the X-shaped console’s reappearance when he tweeted an image of the prototype for fans to see.

Eurogamer calls the X-shaped prototype “original, outrageous, impractical but memorable” and there’s a good reason for this. When Gates and Xbox project head Seamus Blackley unveiled the machine at GDC 2000, it gave developers an idea on what the company was working on at the time. It drew attention to the gaming platform that to this day is being patronized by many.

When Microsoft came up with its first gaming console, Sony has already established the PlayStation series and Nintendo has long succeeded in making a mark in the gaming industry. Given the tough competition back then, Microsoft needed something outlandish to capture the attention of consumers and it did so with the introduction of the X prototype, as per Polygon.

Sadly, the prototype didn’t make it as the retail unit of the first Xbox. In Dean Takahashi’s book “Opening the Xbox,” he revealed that each X-shaped prototype cost $18,000 to manufacture because it was made from a solid block of aluminium. This could be one of the reasons why the prototype was not commercially launched.

The original Xbox prototype is now being showcased at Microsoft’s Redmond facility. Reuters/Kevork Djansezian