Just announced at E3 that a new Xbox will being shipping today.  The new Xbox has built in Wi-Fi, it is quieter, has 250 GB of storage and might even be bundled with Microsoft Kinect. All of this is great but what does it have to do with design? Simple. New Hardware, new design. What do you think of the new sleek design? What were your first thoughts? My first reaction was, ‘eh’.

I kept on wondering why I wasn’t blown away as I was with the first Xbox 360 – the first Xbox 360 was design gold. Then, I realized that my reaction had to do with visual continuity. Why is visual continuity important with hardware design? Because when you have a good brand, you want to preserve it. The concave shape of the console has become iconic. The graphic interface of xbox.com uses the visual cues of the hardware design. Thus, I must boo and hssss to the decision to move away from that. See the images below.

Xbox 360, Xbox 360 Slim

The images below are hardware redesigns that kept with visual continuity. They all get a passing grade from me. Microsoft will have to repeat the class.

PlayStation, PSOne

PlayStation 2, PS 2 Slim

PlayStation 3, PlayStation 3 Slim

Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi