Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal by Robbie Bach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sometimes a book presents itself as being about something and when you read it, you realize it’s actually about something else entirely. Other times, however, the book itself is pretty clear about its topic, but the reader’s perception is that it’s going to be about something else.
With the exception of the title and the stylish black-and-green color scheme that was the banner of the original Xbox (oh, how I’ve missed that look), “Xbox Revisited” is clear that it’s a business book, not a gamer book. It even says in the subtitle that it’s more about “corporate and civic renewal.” This focus is not hidden! And yet . . . and yet . . . it was recommended to me via whatever computer algorithms seek out those connections. “If you liked Console Wars, you’ll like this book!” So, while it might be a lesson about the recommendation process rather than a comment on the quality of the boo itself, I must admit I came into this book expecting an entirely different experience. And that isn’t really the book’s fault, in this case.
I was hoping for a “Console Wars” style narrative about the development of the Xbox, which has long been my favorite video game console. I was hoping to see more about how it was developed, what it was like in the trenches at the very beginning; in short, how it all happened. Unfortunately, “Xbox Revisited” focuses on the development only at the highest level and summarizes most of that story. Author Robbie Bach even says he isn’t much of a gamer and so isn’t equipped to provide a gamer’s perspective. Thus, while Xbox is the product that’s at the center of the discussion, the book isn’t actually about Xbox.
Instead, the focus is on Bach’s business management theory, which is called the 3P Framework. Not being a business manager myself, I can’t speak to how effective it might be. As a reader, it does feel like a bit of a stretch to take the business plan that worked for a video game console and apply it to the rest of the country. Your mileage may vary.