The Xbox One design was settled upon after placing prototypes in living room environments, Xbox creative director Carl Ledbetter explained at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference on July 10.
Principles of simplicity and elegance informed the design process, with two dozen prototypes shown in a slide.
Some of those mock-ups look like they share common ground with the curved Mac Mini (middle right), the chunky PlayStation 2 (center top), or Sony's Blu-ray player (bottom right).
Others are more ornamental, with sculpted, flowing curves or abstract, tessaract shapes.
That living room testing helps explain why the final Xbox One design is so close to sensibilities that inform modern audio-visual units -- hi-fi separates, set-top boxes, discrete network routers.