Xbox creator ‘nearly’ fired after comparing gaming to masturbation in 2001

In 2001, the gaming atmosphere was much different than it is today.

Image via Microsoft

One of the original creators of the first Xbox console, Seamus Blackley, was almost fired back in 2001 after he compared gaming to masturbating.

Years later, it was revealed that Blackley was almost fired for his comment, which came to light after Bloomberg reporter Dina Bass revealed that Blackley said it to her a few weeks ahead of the original Xbox launch. The original comment that almost got Blackley fired was “Gaming is like masturbation. Everybody does it, nobody wants to talk about it.”

Bass was replying to someone who originally attributed the quote to her and she revealed that Blackley had said it to her. Blackley then quote tweeted Bass’ tweet and admitted that the statement almost got him fired.

In reply to another Twitter user, Blackley recalled how upper management found out. “It was mainly that the quote appeared in the east side journal and some conservative spouses of executives read it and… I was summoned to building 4 shall we say,” Blackley said.

Back in 2001, gaming was far less mainstream than it is in 2022. Gamers have slowly started to overcome the negative social stigma around people who play video games. It was common back in 2001 for people to hide the fact that they played video games to avoid the stereotypes often associated with gamers, such as “neckbeards,” “basement dwellers,” and other negative connotations.

Although some of the negative stigmas around gaming still exist, the gaming atmosphere is very different than it was 20 years ago. Gaming has become more mainstream and widely accepted in society.