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Xbox creator Seamus Blackley nearly fired after saying gaming is like touching yourself

Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were furious with the comments.


Seamus Blackley

The creator of the original Xbox, Seamus Blackley, made a colorful analogy before the console was released in 2001. He compared playing games to touching yourself. It went as well as expected with his bosses at Microsoft. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were apparently close to giving Blackley the boot.

Twitter got into a frenzy after a seemingly random quote from a reporter Dina Bass attracted some attention. “Gaming is like masturbation,” she said. ” Everyone does it. Nobody wants to talk about it. Bass was quick to point out that she was “quoting something Seamus Blackley told me back in the fall of 2001 a few weeks before the original Xbox launch.” The journalist explained that “the game is mainstream now whereas it was a bit more hidden back then.”

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When he noticed the conversation taking place, Blackley jumped in with some interesting thoughts. “That quote nearly got me fired from Microsoft,” he noted. Blackley went on to say that “some conservative executive wives read it and…I was called to Building 4, shall we say.”


Two Xbox logos side by side.  One is black and green, the other green and white.  Both feature a massive X symbol.

Blackley has already been quoted on the analogy. Thanking fans of the original Xbox in 2019 prompted Bass to ask “how about those of us who got to interview you as you laid out your theory on how the game looks like masturbation?” Blackley replied that “it was an argument for online multiplayer gaming that Xbox has been pioneering in. He added that “Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates were very upset with these comments.”

Blackley wasn’t fired after all. He actually helped the company make Xbox such a hit that Microsoft was able to buy Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion. Sometimes a bad joke is best overlooked.

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