The Xbox 360 Uncloaked:: The Real Story Behind Microsoft's Next-Generation Video Game Console Paperback – 17 May 2006
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As other reviewers have noted, you will find yourself reading the same information, names, and sometimes even quotes in multiple places throughout the book, making it harder to follow his line of thinking clearly. Oftentimes, there is also a bit much of the delineation of who worked for who and who quit the Xbox team when, etc. that does not really lead the reader anywhere or add much to the story. To me, this book feels similar to the previous Xbox book written by Dean in that way- some great tidbits but overall, barely worth reading because of how painful it is to get through it. I've never had this situation happen to me before where I seriously wanted to learn the history and background of building this console, the process that was followed, etc. but was simply not motivated to continue reading the book because of its flaws.
If you are used to reading more professional novels or magazine writing by mainstream writers, you may be frustrated by the common grammatical errors, editorial errors, proofreading mistakes, etc. that pop up in every chapter. They aren't a big deal and you know what he is trying to say but when you pay for a book (that isn't all that cheap, by the way) you expect more. At least I do.
In summary, since I am an IT professional and an avid Xbox and Xbox 360 gamer, I kind of forced my way through the book to learn. You have to take a different approach to reading it, kind of ignoring errors, focusing on the highlights and not trying to tie everything together seamlessly, very differently than you would likely read any other book. If you feel this story is worthwhile enough to put up with these flaws, go for it. Otherwise, you may be disappointed.
Overall, the original book by the same author ("Opening the XBox") was more fascinating and easier to read if you're a non-gamer. That said, this is a fun read for enthusiasts and will open your eyes up to some stuff you may not have been aware of. For example, guess which yowling, screaming, sweaty MS higher-up put pressure on the development team to ditch the hard drive to reduce the cost of the machine? That would be Steve Ballmer, and as 360 owners know, his opinion was misguided as the lack of mandatory hard drive is one of the few chinks in the 360's armor. There are many bits of info like that strewn about this book.
Somewhat unfortunate is the fact that the book ends shortly after the 360 is launched (and only briefly mentions "early reports of hardware failures"...which would of course lead into the overwhelming "Red Ring of Death" problems that the majority of 360 consoles would encounter). Of course, hopefully he will write another book when the next MS console arrives and go over what has happened since the 360's launch.
Recommended for 360 fans and game industry enthusiasts. Everyone else, start with the "Opening the XBox" book and then decide if you want more.
If I were to complain about anything, it's that I found it repeating some of the details from time to time. I would think that I read the exact same details before, then look to see, and sure enough I could find it verbatum in the previous chapter.
This doesn't happen often enough to detract too much overall, as the book is chaulk full of quotes and unknown morsels that a hardcore gamer is sure to enjoy.
The most interesting thing you'll learn from this book is the amount of dedication from the whole team, Microsoft's plunge into the unknown territory and all the compromises, tough business and design decisions. An excellent read for anyone interested in "behind the scenes" of video game industry. Recommended.