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Microsoft: "Nobody bought" 360 faceplates

"We killed that one pretty quickly" - Penello

Microsoft global marketeer Albert Penello has revealed the fate of the changeable faceplate accessory for original model Xbox 360s.

While a range of first and third party faceplates were available during the console's first few years, the console's removable front was phased out with this year's Xbox 360 S redesign.

Microsoft's official plates sold for £15, though much cheaper aftermarket and game-branded alternatives were available.

"The idea wasn't bad," Penello told Official Xbox Magazine. "People used to put faceplates on their cell phones. Rewind five years, faceplates were what everybody wanted to do.

"It turned out nobody bought it. So [we stopped] making them. We killed that one pretty quickly."

Though the official accessories are no longer in print, third party faceplates are still readily available, while services such as Gelaskins offer sticker-based options for the newer model 360s.

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Latest comments (13)

Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 10 years ago
Huh? I didn't even know there were faceplates! (apart from those skins you can buy online)
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Josef Brett Animator 10 years ago
I got an awesome set of G1 transformers faceplates for a birthday. I will be gutted when my 360 finally dies and I have to upgrade to the slim.
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Andrew Clayton QA Weapons Tester, Electronic Arts10 years ago
I never bought the faceplate because it would totally ruin the overall color scheme / design of the box itself. Why have this nice, sleek Gears of War faceplate when the rest of the box is still a bright, hideous white?
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Show all comments (13)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 10 years ago
The good ones were usually given to people preordering games. The game specific plates were all about the excitement of gaming, while those generally on sale were as mind-numbing as discussing with your wife which veneer the rack in the closet should have.

I think it's sad, the new Xbox can't do that anymore.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 10 years ago
There's a bunch of hardcore collectors out there who paid good money for the rarer plates (many of which went to press members), but overall, it was a lousy idea. Particularly the part where NO ONE thought that too many users new to the console scene would find taking off and putting on face plates too damn hard, too annoying or just useless, period.

Also, I always wondered (somewhat amusingly) if you broke the original faceplate and then the replacement while trying to change them... would that void the console's warranty?

And for freak's sake... a damn hefty white game console isn't a CELL PHONE... Yeesh, what an idiot. I suppose if the whole cellphone market went haywire in 2004-2005 because a bunch of pre-teens bought 30 million pink gemstone phone cases, we'd be seeing decked out rhinestone-studded face plates (or entire consoles) covered in cheap plastic and glass jewels?

I'll bet good money Microsoft tried that in R & D, but those original model 360's heated up and turned into laser spitting death machines (cue up Diamonds Are Forever's satellite laser sequence...)...

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Peter Law10 years ago
Also, I always wondered (somewhat amusingly) if you broke the original faceplate and then the replacement while trying to change them... would that void the console's warranty?

There was a sticker underneath the faceplate which was over the seem, removing this voided the warranty
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Jelle Schut Managing Director, Only Network10 years ago
I bought one, haha, the sun inspired theme, thought it looked pretty, but then Microsoft decided to give me a Slim, so bye bye faceplate.
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John Kauderer Associate Creative Director, Atari10 years ago
I still have the original 360 E3 launch plate and the Bioshock Plate still in their wrapping. Perhaps it's Ebay time?
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James Moorehead Blogger 10 years ago
I have a Gears Of War faceplate on my elite and it looks pretty nice but I wasn't that bothered about having any others. They were too much for what they were and most didn't look too good.
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Howard Parry10 years ago
My 360 is behind the TV, sorry MS.
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Binh Vuong10 years ago
They were way too expensive, that's why
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Kim Soares Lead Designer, Nitro Games10 years ago
I still have special edition faceplate from X05 in Amsterdam, in unopened package. Collectors, you can start bidding ;-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kim Soares on 17th December 2010 7:26am

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Christian Allen Design Director, WB Games10 years ago
I liked the faceplates, but only the game-specific ones. I might have bought those (had I not gotten so many for free), but never even considered buying the generic ones. Could have been successful if they had done games, sports teams, etc, instead of just a bunch of colors and patterns.
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